A Day in a Blind
Bald eagle on a carcass with numerous flies swarming around
This past weekend I spent over five hours in a blind to get a 20 minute quality photography opportunity. That is the reality of being a wildlife photographer it requires patience. If you are patient and wait the opportunities will present themselves.
Eagle as it waits in the grass before going to the carcass
If you are not aware I live on a farm in Northeastern Alberta. On Friday I noticed two eagles circling above one of our fields and coyotes in that area. I went out to take a look and discovered a carcass of an ungulate that had passed away sometime the previous evening. The next morning I went out early and set up a blind about 70 feet from the site and downwind from the animal. I was hoping that the coyote family that was in the area might come for a meal at some time and even better have their pups with them.
View From my Blind
I spent a few hours in the morning in the blind. I observed lots of ravens and magpies on the carcass for the first hour when a bald eagle landed close by. The eagle stood on the ground near the carcass for about 5 minutes watching the ravens moving about before moving onto the carcass. The eagle tore strips of meat, feasted on the carcass for about 15 minutes, and then left. The close proximity to the eagle allowed me many great photo opportunities and even some nice shots of the ravens too. I stayed about an hour more and observed the magpies and ravens behaviours.
The light across the field as the sun was setting
I left the blind and returned home. Later that evening I went back about an hour and a half before sunset. I was hoping the coyotes would come at dusk and the position of the blind in relation to the sun provided ample opportunity for some beautiful backlit photos. While the sun did its part and shone golden rays of light across the field no coyotes appeared or even a raven at the time the light was at its best, so unfortunately no photos. But as a photographer, you need to be in the right place at the right time to be able to get those photos. While it did not work out on this occasion being prepared at the right time and in the right position to capture the moment should it occur, is a huge part of the work it takes in being a successful wildlife photographer.
Profile of a bald eagle
Not deterred, the next morning I was up at 5:30 with the sun scheduled to rise at 5:52 am. However, I did not take my own advice, although, with the best of intentions to get out in the blind to hopefully photograph coyotes in the early morning, I putzed around my home and did not get out there until almost 7:00 am. From a distance, I could see three coyotes in the field that had just left the site! Yep, my own fault I knew I needed to get out there earlier. Although I never did a good photo of a coyote during my time in the blind I did get some gorgeous eagle photos. Moral of the story you need to put the time and the effort in to get those award-winning photos. And putzing does you no favors!