How to shoot eagles

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by dtzitko, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. dtzitko

    dtzitko TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Messages:
    238
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    So,

    I live in the city of St. Louis. I managed to find a bald eagle in one of our many city parks (yea I know, a bald eagle in the middle of the city). I brought my E-510 and kit lens with me when I went looking for him once I heard about him, but had no luck of any photos of him. Some great visuals, but I couldn't capture him). My question is, what is a good length of lens to use to capture him? I'm going to rent a lens (all I have is the kit lens) and go back and see if I can get some good shots. It's a small park, and when I saw him flying, he was at the closest 30 yards away and at the farthest 150 yards. Is a 200mm good enough or do I need a 300mm? I'm wanting to eventually buy this lens:
    LensRentals.com - Rent a Olympus 70-300mm f/4-5.6

    But I'm curious about this one as well, but don't think I can afford actually buying it. What do you guys think would be better to use?
    LensRentals.com - Rent a Olympus 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD

    Yes, I know these are rentals, I think the 70-300 is better for my situation, because it's a more affordable lens and it's something I'm wanting to buy. So renting it now will be useful to decide if it's something I want right now. But I feel like the other is a much better piece of glass, based on the price for renting it at least. So what do you think?

    Also, any tips on how to get some good shots of these guys are much appreciated. I'm new to birds, and photography in general. But I think this is something I could get into. I got really excited when I found him and saw him flying, but who wouldn't...it was a bald eagle. So I think birds are going to be my new thing.
     
  2. EricD

    EricD TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,626
    Likes Received:
    136
    Location:
    Winter Park, Florida
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Glad you spotted an Eagle. I have found 5 Eagles nest in the middle of the city in parks an Cemeteries, the will nest anywhere it seems!. To be honest with you I think you will need more than 300mm unless you are going to be 75 feet or less. Personally if you are going to rent a lens I would go with a 400mm or 500mm to ensure you will catch him in the frame with out any serious cropping.
    As far as getting some good shots be sure to expose for the white head. Eagles and Ospreys are tough due to the whites and dark bodies!

    Good luck and look forward to some pic's!! p.s. Of the 2 lenses you described above I would go with the 70-300 to get the most focal distance!
     
  3. the Virginian

    the Virginian TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    northern Virginia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I would go with the longest lens that I can justify the cost of. You might even consider a mirror lens. They have their short comings, but they're a lot cheaper, and you can get some serious focal length. The further away you are, the more likely you'll get shots of them doing natural behavior rather than them just scoping you out.

    Too bad you don't use a Canon. You could stay home and photograph those eagles with this lens. :mrgreen:

    A Welsh View: Huge 5200mm Canon Lens
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  4. USM IS

    USM IS TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    But I always believed when photographing wildlife there is never a lens LONG enough. If you go above 500mm you will need a tripod and gimbal head, unless you workout a lot......my .02 worth......Mike
     
  5. dtzitko

    dtzitko TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Messages:
    238
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Awesome. Thanks for the tips guys. Keep 'em coming. I never thought I'd get into wildlife photography, but seeing that eagle really sparked my interest.
     
  6. Formatted

    Formatted TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,390
    Likes Received:
    65
    Location:
    England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Listen to Eric he does Baldies better than anyone!

    500 should be long enough, anything less and your risking losing your shot!
     
  7. dtzitko

    dtzitko TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Messages:
    238
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    I noticed that! His work is top notch. Also, I ended up going with the 70-300. We'll see how it works. Thanks for the tips guys. I can't wait to give this another shot, even if I fail miserably.
     
  8. Kethaneni

    Kethaneni TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    South riding,VA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    dtzitko, Good luck and don't feel bad even if the shots don't come out good, I have been trying to locate a bald eagle around Washington DC area for a while and so far no luck.At least you were able to locate one.

     

Share This Page