Photography Tips – How to Photograph Eagles

If you are anything like me you love the majestic beauty of eagles. You may have also dreamed of photographing these beautiful birds.  But you may not be a nature photographer with all the high-end equipment like a 500 mm lens, an expensive high end tripod or mono-pod and camouflage gear etc.

Is there a way to fix this problem you ask?  Well one way to solve this problem for most photographers is to go to your local raptor center. In Minnesota we have several options and one of the best is to go to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha.   In that setting  you can photograph recovering Eagles in a much easier photography friendly environment. Even if you are not to in Minnesota I would be willing to bet your local has an indoor center somewhere relatively close.

At the National Eagle Center they work to help rehabilitate injured eagles and in some cases they are able to get them back out into the wild. But in the meantime it gives us photographers a great opportunity to capture their strength and beauty.

The center has a wonderful educational area so you can learn all kinds of things you would never have imagined about the great bird. They have live eagles on display for you to take photos of relatively close up. And then they have classroom experiences where you can learn more about their natural habitat, their mating habits, their eating habits and even there defecating habits.

The center is located on the Mississippi River in a heavily wooded area and I am sure there are days when there are many wild Eagles flying right around the facility. On the particular day we were there we saw no Eagles across the river perched in trees or any place like that. We think that was because it was a midsummer day and the eagles that were present were hidden by all the ample foliage covering the trees. Autumn would certainly be a better time give you easy viewing access to the Eagles perched in the trees but we were given a treat that we’re not expecting.

On the drive down to the Eagle Center and on the ride back home we probably saw dozens of the eagles soaring in the sky and hunting for their next meal. So if you plan to go down to the center assuming you will run into the same situation, consider pulling alongside the road and setting up for a photo-shoot of one of these beauties in the wild. They do fly quite close to the road and you should be able to get a very good in flight capture of them.

Photo Equipment Needs?

So what will you need to capture great images of an eagle inside the center?

It would be great to have a lens that you can use to zoom in with. Remember the second law of photography closer, no closer, no closer. You will certainly want you to be able to zoom in to get great detail this incredible animal.

You will also want a lens that focuses quickly because this bird moves very quickly and you want to be able to capture all of the action.

For the same reason, you will want your shutter speed set quite fast again to capture the action but also with is faster shutter speed and hopefully a small f stop value your depth of field will be very narrow so your image viewer will be focused on your main subject of the eagle. This will help you fulfill the first law of photography, define your subject and remove all other clutter.

A cheap mono-pod could come in handy if you needed to stabilize your camera a bit.

Also, it would be important to us to be able to adjust your ISO on your camera because inside the center will be darker than you with desire and in order to capture a sharp image you will need extra sensor sensitivity.

And there you have it.  And with all that in mind you should be able to capture a shot like this.

Photography Tutorial How to Photograph Eagles



Technical Details:

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Lens: 70 – 300 at  300 mm

F/ 5.4

ISO: 500

No Flash

No tripod

Center metered

Shot in camera RAW

Processed in Photoshop


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I hope you found this tutorial, How To Photography Eagles, to be easy to understand and helpful. If you like it, please share with your friends on all of your social media outlets.  Until next time get out and capture the adventure.

Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website