Eagles on the Mississippi River

Soaring high over the Mississippi River watching for fish
Soaring high over the Mississippi River watching for fish

Eagles fish in the Mississippi River during winter where the water has not frozen. Near Lock 14, eagles congregate in the middle of winter if it is cold and the River is frozen to the north. So, on a cold winter’s day, photographers flock to the dam to capture this magnificent animal. Whether soaring over head, or diving in to capture a fish, the Eagles are amazing to watch and capture with camera.

Im taking a Nature Photography class on Saturdays this semester, and our “wildlife” assignment was to capture these might birds. After hearing our guest speaker talk about all the issues, settings, behaviors and problems, I asked if t was at all probable that a first time photographer would get anything that was focused. And the answer is yes.

But I captured about 1,000 images in four hours, and less than 300 are focused enough to beg looking at composition and exposure. Eagles fly very fast when they are diving for food. Getting that decisive moment when they capture the fish and their powerful wings and legs take off to soar high is an amazing site.

This image is the best of the soaring eagles I got. On my blog, I’ve put up a gallery of images of the eagles.

Next winter, I’ll be ready. I learned a lot, I felt the thrill of it all, and I want to improve. I know some of my mistakes, and I’m ready to practice more. But remember: four hours outside in the winter around 15 degrees also takes preparation. I learned a bit there as well on what works for warmth and function, and what does not.

All that said, who wants to come with me next winter?


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