Guess Why I Set My Alarm for 4:30am: Sunrise, Boats and a Bald Eagle

First I’m sharing my final, most amazing and WHEW photo of the day.  Now here’s the story of how I got it:

A few weeks ago, I read an article that mentioned there was an Eagle at Lake Wohlford.

So my wheels started turning….

I called the Ranger’s office to get any advice and discovered that morning was the most likely time of day to spot him….

because that’s when the fish swim to the surface to eat the bugs, so he can see them and they are in grabbing distance.

Apparently, everyone is hungry in the morning. (It’s not just me!)

Well we decided to get there in time to capture the sunrise too…because why not?

(And what else were we doing at 5:00am anyway???  Just wastin’ time in bed for sure!)

Here’s the Lake Wohlford boat house…..everything is beautiful in the light of sunrise, isn’t it?

We scored on some beautiful sunrise color!

As the sun rose, we hiked around a bit and came upon a dock (that was NOT icy…lol)

and had a nice conversation with some fishermen….(who had also set their alarms for 4:30am!)

And then we took the road less traveled to the SW corner of the lake where the Ranger had recommended we  start watchiing for the eagle.

Enjoyed some of the scenery while we were waiting….

We kept watching and waiting….

And Waited.

And Waited…and wondered at what point were we just going to call it a day and head home with no eagle photos….when suddenly…

I saw an Osprey fly by with a fish in his talons…

And THEN an eagle swooped out of nowhere and knocked the fish out of the Osprey’s grasp and the two began fighting.

Pardon the fact that these are a bit noisy – this was happening 150 feet away from me in the middle of the lake….

The fish was immediately dropped and the two big birds fought for about a minute then went along their separate ways…

The Eagle kept watching the lake….and we kept watching him!

Can you spot him?

We ran across the side of the lake to get closer to him…and I’m not kidding you…RAN

and then, SCORE!  He looked at me and held his position for about 3 seconds before flying away…

And I have to say, I’m particularly proud of my camera skills for this day of aerial combat and nestling among the branches and here’s why:

First of all I’m glad I had my 400mmL professional lens so I could zoom in from 50 years away….but check this out:

Did you also know that every photo I capture I tell my camera what to focus on?

I never use auto focus!

I move a teeny little joystick on the back of my camera with my thumb and put one tiny little dot on what I want to be in focus

FOR EVERY SINGLE PHOTO I CAPTURE.

This is very easy when it’s a bride and groom standing there smiling, but much harder when it’s a fast moving object with lots of branches in the way.

(By NOT using the camera’s autofocus, I can put the focus on what I want – THE EAGLE – rather than on the branches (which would have been what my camera wanted!)

Bu-BYE Mr. Eagle – we will meet again!

And as we headed for the car, I spotted a pelican enjoying the lake – I love how the surface of the lake looks all stripey….

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