Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday Shoot -The One That Got Away

I think I need help. Some kind of professional help. I left the comfort and warmth of bed to go take pictures in 20 degree weather at 5:52 this morning. I put Linkin Park on the mp3 player and swigged down a Red Bull energy drink to get me awake by the time I got to my first destination.

I didn't like how the set up there was looking so I headed on to my next spot, when I saw a great clearing overlooking Lake Loudon. I parked and jogged about 200 yards where I set up my tripod just on the inside of the guard rail, which left me standing on the shoulder of the road about 2 feet from traffic. I've got to get me one of those reflective construction vests! (somewhat kidding). Now it was just time to wait for Mr. Sun.
Unfortunately, as the sun came closer and closer, two things happened. First, it wasn't coming up exactly where I hoped. Second, the more light that came up, the more haze washed out the Smoky Mountain foothills in the background.

Seeing I wasn't going to get the shot I wanted here, I headed to another place to actually catch the sun rising. I had The Cove all to myself. Birds filled the sky and steam wafted off of the water. The sound of ducks, geese, herons, and gulls echoed in the frigid morning air. When the sun finally peaked over the tree tops, I couldn't help but smile. I live for these brief vacations of solitude.

If anyone has found a missing diver, please return him/her to the office at The Cove.

So I am on a rocky outcrop shooting towards the sun, trying to capture good exposures without being blown out. I've got my aperture closed down and relatively fast shutter speeds so not a lot of light is coming in the camera. Movement to my right catches my attention and I turn just in time to see a bald eagle gliding across the waterline right towards me! I have never seen one in the wild and here is one just 30 feet away. I turned my camera around and frantically thumbed the wheel trying to open up the aperture, snapping two shots in the 1 second that I had as he/she flew by. (Did I mention I was wearing gloves?) I was so disappointed when I saw two black screens.

With an extreme amount of tweaking in Photoshop Elements, I was able to alter the two black pictures enough where you can see that it was a bald eagle, but they're not presentable.

I guess I'm dorky, but that was a very special moment for me, just getting to see this magnificent bird in the wild. I'm going to stake out that area the next couple of weekend mornings and try to get a good shot of it. I guess fishermen aren't the only ones to talk about "the one that got away".

Speaking of fishermen, here's one castnetting for bait later in the morning.

So I didn't really get any great shots this morning, at least nothing I'd have printed. But I did have fun and I'm still learning what works and what doesn't. Plus, I got that great experience of being so close to a wild bald eagle.

I hope your weekend is starting out excellent as mine has!


  1. You are crazy! I don't think I could do anything let alone take those amazing shots that early. I am bowing to you at this moment! : )

    Happy Saturday

  2. First off I don't think you need help, professional or otherwise. I think it's endearing that your intuned to nature and want to capture it at it's finest. Seeing the Bald Eagle must of been exhilerating. Loved all the shots! (Hugs)Indigo

  3. I didn't know you'd started another blog! About time you started featuring your photography. :)

  4. WOW!! Those are some amazing shots! Lucky, lucky you with the Bald Eagle! I recently saw one in flight while I was in Tennessee and couldn't get my camera out in time, but fortunately I got a great shot of one in Oregon on the Rogue River last year! That was a life-long dream, to see one in the wild so I was thrilled. What a beautiful, inspiring morning you had my friend! Blessings, Lisa

  5. Me too Chris...i get such pleasure from a photo capture of me and that moment. I have NEVER been close enough to a bald eagle..not ever!
    I have seen nest and birds from a distance..wanting so badly to get closer but fearful of upseting the balance of the moment.
    You got some good shots and of course as alway humor at best ..Hugs TJ

  6. I love the shot of the mountains. I've been to Knoxville a few times back in the early 90s and some family friends took me out to Cades Cove once. That kind of natural beauty gets in your bones. Thank you for these photos.

  7. Sigh, each time I come here I have to stop for a few moments and WISH I could go on your Saturday morning picture taking (though I could rub it out there our trip to Cades Cove ... when you got some amazing pictures too haha).

    I have been "reading" a few picture blogs lately and while I adore all of them yours is Deff my favorite one to see an update from.

    : )

  8. One thing to remember here. Only the pros would know if a pic is just right or not. For us regular people, what you've captured delights and makes us feel all warm and cozy~
    I would bet that if you go back to the same eagle area, you'll find him again.

  9. I found your blog through Brandie. I'm glad I did. I have been to some of the places you've photographed. It's nice to see them from the point of view of your camera.

  10. Chris these are all beautiful and/ or interesting. As GORGEOUS as the landscapes are, my favorite is of the fisherman, too cool! :D

  11. I think your sunrise photos are beautiful. The light at dawn and dusk is absolutely the best time to be out with a camera, if you ask me.

    Lucky you, to have seen that eagle! I know what you mean about missing the shot, but I'm finding that trying to capture moments like that on camera kind of ruins the experience. And besides, my hasty shots are always worthless. So when something that magical happens now, I just put down the camera and drink it in.