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Eagles and Hawks

My challenge for a number of years has been to capture a fantastic photo of an eagle or hawk.  My eye has gotten where I can spot them quickly, mostly when driving down the road.  Often times I don’t bother stopping because of several reasons such as a bad angle, by the time I came up close they flew off, traffic is such that it’s not safe to stop, etc…

My regular job that I work at has started up again, which requires me to drive about an hour up a canyon to where I work and an hour back.  This gives me plenty of opportunity to see these magnificant birds.  Only problem the opportunity to capture them hasn’t worked out.

On my way home, I tried by having my camera out and ready, but still no success.  These creatures are smart, once you slow down or stop they know something is up, and they will fly away faster than you can pull the camera out.

Yesterday I was coming home from a job and saw the most amazing thing.  Only problem is, that I didn’t bring my camera.  Total bummer, for it would have been perfect.  There was a dead rabbit on the back road.  I see lots of ravens, and as I came closer-slowing down-I noticed that there was an eagle in the center of the road,  eating the rabbit.  The ravens flew off, but the eagle was so busy eating that he didn’t pay much attention to me.

So I  drove extremely slow towards where this eagle was eating off the rabbit on the roadway.    I was able to get within 6 to 9 feet of it.  The bad thing is, I didn’t have my camera with me.  I would have been able to take some fabulous pictures of it, with how close I was and the angle, etc.

Instead, I watched it and observed it for nearly 15 minutes.  Fortunately for me their was no traffic on the road, and the eagle was so busy eating that it didn’t fly away when I moved into its zone.  It was interesting to watch it so closely as it devoured the meal.  It would use its beak to tear the rabbit fur off, then peel into the flesh and eat it.  The strength in it’s beak was something else.  Then to see it’s feet cling to the kill to steady it while it tugged at it with it’s beak was fascinating.

So much for the perfect picture…this is like the third time to have a opportunity like this, and miss it because I didn’t have my camera with me.  You’d think I’d learn.  Maybe someday.

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Billings again

Today was the day to go fetch Steve from the Billings airport.  Once again I left my camera at home.  A BAD thing to do because that’s when one will always find those perfect picture moments.

How does one describe in words what a picture can convey?  Well for me pictures can say things far better than I can in words.  Never was gifted at that, but I’ll attempt here in this post.  By the time you’re done reading, if you do, you’ll probably wish I did have the camera too.

Sure enough, I saw quite a few perfect pictures.  One was of the river valley outside of Belfry.  The fog coated all the bushes, trees, etc….next to the river with all its white glory.  Then the river had steam rising up in the cold air.  There were quite a few places that would have composed a GREAT picture.  Alas no camera…so I guess I’ll have to keep the image in my mind till it’s replaced.

Then there was an area that had at least two dozen black ravens all together.  They were feasting on a road kill.  It was quite the site because I don’t think I’ve ever saw more than three together in one area.  Made me appreciate my own method of eating in the comfort of a warm home.  Then I saw numerous hawks perched here and there.

Coming home, I thought I saw a wolf.  So we pulled over to view it.  Of course it knew that wasn’t normal, so it immediately ran off.  We watched it run across the field from a distance and tried to figure out if it was indeed a wolf, maybe a coyote or fox.  Regardless, that would have been fun to try capturing.

When seeing animals while traveling like this, it’s hard to capture those pictures, because by the time you stop, pull out your equipment, etc…the animal is long gone.  So I try to console myself by saying I wouldn’t have been able to get it anyway, but then that is the fun and challenge in trying.

In the end the trip to Billings this week may have been well worth the time, even if I didn’t capture those pictures, because their are some positive possibilities on the horizon for Steve.  Now, that would be the most perfect picture!  Yet I’m not sure if words or pictures can capture the deep feelings involved in that moment when it indeed becomes real.   Just hoping those possibilities don’t die as the others have.