First Eagle of 2020

A few weeks ago, on an unusually warm day, I drove to Crab Orchard Lake Refuge in the hopes of finding a few birds to photograph. I mean, I’ve not seen all that many birds there, but it’s supposed to be a bird sanctuary . . . maybe someone should tell the birds.

As luck would have it, an eagle was hanging around near where I drove.

Nikon D7500 and Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR. Hand-held at 400mm (600mm eq.)

Hanging around is a colloquialism. It was perched, as you can see. You might notice all the technobabble writing under the photo. That’s my way of saying that it wasn’t close to where I parked.

The location on the parking lot is pretty accurate since it’s where I parked and I stayed in the car. The other end is an approximation. It could have been 235 yards, or 255 yards. Either way, a long way away.

But, I can bring it closer.

BUT . . . before I do, a quick reminder to vote for one of the stories in the “A” Alphabet Challenge Submissions. You can vote HERE and there are links to each of the stories in that post. I realize it’s a huge time commitment (around 30 minutes reading time if you have to read aloud, a tad less if you read them quietly), but you have a whole month to read them before the voting closes. Not that I suggest procrastinating. The opposite, in fact. Get to it now! Chop, chop. And tell all your friends.

And, if you don’t like the stories, tell all the people you don’t like so they too can suffer through them.

Assuming you’ve already read them (and voted) let me go on . . .

As I was saying, I can bring that bird closer. This is near a 100% crop of the above photo.

Processed in Lightroom

I have many programs I can use to edit files and the next photo is me trying out things.

Lightroom plus a crap-load of other programs.

Really, there’s not much of a difference but I like the details of the second version so I processed all the remaining photos using similar processing.

By the way, you can click on that photo — and all the photos — for a larger version. I didn’t bother with a SmugMug gallery because the photos aren’t suited for pixel-peeping.

One other thing; I have Topaz GigaPixels that I could use to enlarge the photo even more. There’s a limit, of course, and for this venue, I’d say this is about as large as I would go.

Remember, that’s an enlargement of a photo taken from 250 yards, cropped, sharpened, processed, and enlarged. I’d say that’s pretty good.

But, no, I didn’t bother doing that for all the photos.

Although I sat there keeping an eye on the bird, I missed both times that he took off because I got distracted by other shiny stuff. So, most of my photos look like these.

But, I did catch him doing something else . . .

Let me get to a more comfortable perch.

Here we go . . .

. . . careful now . . .

Nope! Not any better.

Let me try this other uncomfortable-looking perch.

Whoa! Steady, steady . . .

Okay, I guess this will work. Let me moon the photographer while I’m here.

These aren’t award-winning by any stretch of the imagination, but let me remind you what the photo as-snapped looks like.

Uncropped original.

I mentioned I was getting distracted by shiny things . . .

I was hoping that would turn out better, but no . . . and when I looked back . . .

Heck, I’m impressed the bird is in focus.

I did try shooting other birds, but with mixed results.

I’d like to make one other comment before I close this post . . . I had my P900 with me (2000mm zoom) but these photos are a tad better than what I got from the P900. Mind you, had I shot more photos with the P900, some would have been excellent, but still, it’s something I argued before. I like the P900, but the lack of a large sensor hurts and it’s not a forgiving camera at maximum zoom. I mean, I still like it, but the D7500 with a 600mm eq. lens gives me consistently better results.

This is the best I could do with the same amount of effort I put into editing the photos above. I could probably tweak more out of them but I’d have to spend more time than I want on doing so.

Just couldn’t get enough detail out of this photo.

This looks to be sharper, but it was looking away.

So, yes, I can zoom closer with the P900, but I get better results using GigaPixels to enlarge a smaller photo.

That’s not to say the P900 is a slouch. If I ever get my behind in gear and finish documenting the 2017 Alaska cruise and the 2019 Panama cruise, you’ll see the P900 does an admirable job — and often, an excellent job — in most situations.

OK, here’s the ending gallery:

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at, know that it’s copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intentions, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Animals, Feathers, Nikon D7500, Photography Stuff, Photos and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to First Eagle of 2020

  1. oneowner says:

    I’m impressed with the bird shots. The P900 does a fine job. I have been thinking about getting a camera similar to the P900 but I haven’t made up my alleged mind. Have you tried printing any shots from it? I had a 10×15 inch print made from a Samsung phone and was surprised at how sharp and grain-free it was. It’s hanging in my living room!


    • disperser says:

      FYI, Nikon just announced the P950.

      That is a closer upgrade to the P900 than the huge P1000. I like they added a better viewfinder and screen, but not happy they removed the built-in GPS and a few other tweaks. They also added RAW output, but with that size sensor, I don’t know how useful it is.

      I’ve not printed photos in a long time because I no longer have a color printer (I’m still debating if I will buy one or just order prints from online). I’m fairly confident many of my better P900 shots would print all the way up to 13×19 (what I used to print) after some processing.

      Of course, that depends also on how close one is to the print. At normal viewing distance — 2-3 feet or more — they should look fine.

      I also think the subject matters. A long zoom on a subject that is fairly close will give you lots of detail. A long zoom on a subject far away has never been a successful enterprise. I mean, it’s better than nothing, but certainly not print-worthy, especially since atmospheric disturbance begins to show up unless the conditions are ideal (low humidity/heat).

      Be aware that all but the last two photos are from the D7500 with the 80-400mm (600mm eq) setup. Only the last two are with the P900. Because I only shot a few photos with the P900, I only have one that I felt was OK (the second one where the bird is looking away but the feathers and trunk have decent detail). That’s 1 out of 6 photos.

      That was always my approach with the P900. I would shoot multiple photos and I would usually get one or two out of five that were satisfactory. That could probably be improved shooting from a tripod, which I seldom do.

      Of course, I shot with the P900 for the majority of 2017, 2018, and early in 2019. Lots of examples of photos I was happy with.


  2. AnnMarie says:

    Beautiful bird, beautiful pictures! Thanks for doing all that tweaking to give us an awesome portrait!


  3. Your eagle in stillness photos…and your eagle in motion photos…are stunning!
    I’ve only seen eagles in the wild two times. They are so majestic and impressive! I felt humbled and honored to be in their presence! And your photos capture those feelings that I experienced!
    I will read the stories this weekend and then ponder them and then vote.
    And I’ve told a few friends about them. Whether they will read or not I don’t know. They seemed interested.
    PS…ALWAYS enjoy your moon shots! SIGH


    • disperser says:

      Thanks, Carolyn.

      I’ve seen a lot of eagles in Alaska but only a few that I could photograph. Where I live now, they seem to hang around for most of the winter (apparently, they go elsewhere for the Summer).

      I’m hoping to see and photograph a few more over the next few months.

      Thanks for inflicting my stuff on your friends and that’s OK if they don’t read them (most of my friends don’t read my stuff).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. mvschulze says:

    Nice series! M:-)


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