Today was the California Foundation for Birds of Prey’s annual open house. It offers a wonderful opportunity to photograph raptors up close. Three things prevented me from getting excellent photos: the time of day: between the hours of 11AM to 2PM when it was bright, cloudless, and hot with the sun directly overhead (the annular eclipse had yet to begin); my failed attempts at applying what I thought were the correct mode settings (Aperture Priority for some, Shutter Priority for some, Manual Mode when I was about to give up) but which apparently were not; and the fact that I still don’t know which button or dial controls which features on the new camera, so the adjustments I made incorrectly by feel really wreaked havoc with my photos today. Early on, I managed to change the white balance from my consciously set sunny setting to tungsten and about half of the eagle shots were blue. I am sure glad I shoot raw so I can change the white balance later in post processing if I decide to use any of the “blue” shots. During the free flight of a falcon, I used shutter priority and had to keep changing the settings but it wasn’t until much later that I realized I had inadvertently set exposure compensation minus one full stop. No wonder everything was dark. I was very discouraged after today’s fiasco. I really struggled.
These shots are my favorites from today. The exposure was almost correct; the only exposure correction I made was to dodge the eyes. I shot them using Aperture Priority and I cropped them both, as well. This is Tesla, the golden eagle who amazingly survived electrocution many years ago and now lives permanently at the CFBP and serves as an educational ambassador for the foundation. She is wet in both shots because Andy, her handler, sprayed her with water to keep her cool.