Olympic Trip: Seawall Eagle

No, he was not a stuffed prop, as I first suspected

My first confirmation that the recently un-casted left hand was going to present challenges for the Washington trip was when I pulled up to the ticket machine at long-term parking in Greensboro. Try as I might, I could not muster enough pinch strength to pull the ticket with my left thumb and index finger. Sheesh.

The other greatest challenge (and pain) came when I tried to make camera adjustments that are usually–and automatically–done with the thumb, or the camera is supported by a firm left-hand grip for the right hand to do its work. This eagle shot was thus a challenge, taking the camera off auto-focus, tweaking slightly with the advance of every few paces. I just knew he would flush from his perch atop the seawall at any moment, so started shooting from a tenth of a mile away.

This shot was taken with the longest glass I carry–at 200mm. He sat so patiently I began to think he had been trained for the job as tourist bait. From the top of the seawall (the climbing of which had me lose balance and catch myself with my left hand. Ouch.) there were another half dozen tourist-eagles perched in trees on on the seastacks.

This was the only solo foray I made with the camera. It was exhilarating and memorable, and I’ll post another shot or two from Quileute / LaPush.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Congratulations on your success stalking the eagle. I’m glad he was so cooperative for you. We just had a bird photographing trip to southern Arizona, and Allen was very happy with his shots of great blue herons in their nest with a baby. They stayed put, too.

  2. What a great shot Freddie…that is an awesome pose! I spent 10 days hiking into, and then out of, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) from Ely Minnesota. The eagles there were really such wusses! It was a huge surprise the way that the sea gulls there would take over and steal the eagles’ meals that we left out for them. Great shot!