I recently visited Conowingo Dam which spans the Susquehana River between Maryland and Pennsylvania. At this time of year (late fall), eagles congregate in large numbers providing a great photography opportunities for bird photographers. Eagles soar high above the river as they hunt and they often fly into the trees which line the parking lot. It’s possible to get really tight shots of the eagles as they fly. The shot above was taken with a Canon 1 D Mark IV camera with a 500 mm lens coupled with a 1.4 x teleconverter. Because of the action, I set my camera to shutter priority shooting mode, using a minimum shutter speed of 1/1600 sec, ISO at 640 because the light wasn’t a problem. I also shot the images in jpeg instead of raw so my buffer wouldn’t fill as fast however there are disadvantages to this approach as it’s harder to recover blown highlights in Photoshop which can be a problem on a sunny day with the eagle’s white heads. The camera and lens were mounted on a tripod with a Gimbal-style head. I also had a second camera body for closer flight shots. I used the center focusing point. For a number of shots of eagles swooping down and catching fish in their talons on the river, more reach would have ideal – i.e. a 600 mm lens with a teleconverter or a 1.6 or 1.7 cropped sensor camera with a 500 mm lens and teleconverter. There is a large parking lot and there is plenty of room to photograph and there is a large viewing platform at the bottom, right on the river. There are ample port-a-potties near the parking lot. I have been to this location a number of times but this year I witnessed more eagles and more action…hopefully, next year I can return with a 600 mm lens!
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