In-Flight Eagle

While eagles are not that common in Southern Ontario, we do have the opportunity to see them from time to time. This article shares some images of an in-flight eagle captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1X. I photographed the eagle as it flew over the ponds at Hendrie Valley in Burlington Ontario.

NOTE: Click on image to enlarge.

Unfortunately the in-flight eagle was a fair distance away. This resulted in the images being cropped somewhat aggressively. I was doing some field testing with Olympus camera gear at the time of these image captures.

Olympus O-MD E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 PRO with MC-14 teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-250, subject distance 68.3 metres
Olympus O-MD E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 PRO with MC-14 teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-250, subject distance 68.3 metres
Olympus O-MD E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 PRO with MC-14 teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-250, subject distance 68.3 metres
Olympus O-MD E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 PRO with MC-14 teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-250, subject distance 68.3 metres

We seldom have the chance to see these magnificent birds in our local area. It was a thrill to be able to capture this small selection of in-flight eagle images.

Olympus O-MD E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 PRO with MC-14 teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-320, subject distance 53.9 metres
Olympus O-MD E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 PRO with MC-14 teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-320, subject distance 53.9 metres
Olympus O-MD E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 PRO with MC-14 teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-320, subject distance 53.9 metres

These photos of an in-flight eagle were created with two short AF-C bursts using a frame rate of 10 frames per second. The Olympus OM-D E-M1X was set to Manual mode, using Auto-ISO and Multi-Zone metering. A 5 X 5 auto focus point spread was utilized. The longest telephoto lens combination I had available at the time was an M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 PRO zoom with an MC-14 teleconverter.

During my time at Hendrie Valley that day, the eagle only did one fly-by. The auto-focus on the Olympus OM-D E-M1X was fast and accurate, allowing me to capture these photographs.

Technical Note:
All photographs were captured hand-held in available light using camera equipment as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process.

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6 thoughts on “In-Flight Eagle”

  1. Hi Tom,

    Great captures as always — I can only dream of actually seeing eagles at the moment. Happy to see you’re really enjoying your new Olympus gear. Even with the limitations of the zoom at 150 plus the MC-14 teleconverter, it seems you’re just picking up where you left off with the Nikons.

    Oggie
    http://www.lagalog.com

    1. Thanks Oggie!

      The MC-14 was returned to Olympus with the rest of the loaner gear… so at the moment I am restricted to the M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 PRO without a teleconverter. I ordered the MC-20, but it is currently back ordered… with any luck I’ll receive it sometime in August.

      One of the most important lenses in the Nikon 1 system is the CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6. It provides great reach and performance in a small, lightweight package. I love using it in good light with a V2 or V3, as it frequently allows me to capture birds in flight without having to crop my images at all.

      Thus far with my Olympus images I’ve had to crop my bird-in-flight photos pretty aggressively (i.e. 50% to 75% on the long side)… so quality has suffered. As we all know fewer pixels on subject = fewer details. Until I receive my MC-20 I likely won’t be doing much bird-in-flight photography with my Olympus kit… I really dislike having to aggressively crop my images.

      Tom

  2. Great shots! You are right, it is rare to get the opportunity to photograph a large bird of prey. I photographed some turkey vultures recently, with my Panasonic ZS50, 40 x zoom, which is always with me.
    The birds were playing in the up draft over an old quarry lake.
    There used to be no turkey vultures in New Brunswick, I was told.
    At first I thought they were eagles. But there was some red on their heads, I saw that with the naked eye. The next day I saw some turkey vultures playing over a high rise in Moncton.

    Renate

    1. Hi Renate,

      Thanks for sharing your experience photographing the local New Brunswick turkey vultures! In my area in Southern Ontario turkey vultures are extremely common. Most photographers don’t even bother with them. If folks spot a black vulture that may peak their interest. I have enjoyed photographing turkey vultures with my favourite location in my area being the Niagara Gorge. There is a small park proximate to the Brock Monument. From that vantage point it is possible to photograph the turkey vultures at eye level rather than shooting up at them. Their wings can be quite interesting with the right lighting.

      Tom

      1. Thanks for giving me the location, Tom. I have relatives in Niagara and on the next visit I will sure visit the gorge.

        Renate

        1. Hi Renate,

          The actual name of the park is Locust Grove Park. The sign for it is very small… if you blink you will miss it so you’ll need to watch for it as soon as you come out of the traffic circle, heading towards Niagara Falls. The best time to photograph the vultures soaring is during the spring migration when the trees still don’t have many leaves on them.

          Tom

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