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March 9, 2008 / Bo Mackison

Bald Eagle in Winter

Bald Eagle in River Steam

Taken at Sauk City, Wisconsin – the eagles’ wintering grounds on the Wisconsin River – in bitter cold weather. With the temperatures below zero and the river temperature at 30˙ F, huge clouds of steam were rising from the water’s surface and ice crystals were forming on the nearby tree branches. A single Bald Eagle swooped downstream and landed in this tree across the river from me. I took a few photographs because the eagle was within sight and it would be my last chance to photograph an eagle until next winter.

I nearly deleted all of the photos – they were really bad – but then decided to play around with one of them. I increased the exposure of the dark photo, added a little saturation, and cropped tightly. This is the result – a different look from the sharp photos I like, but the effect seemed to fit the mood. Looks a bit like a painting to me.

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  1. barbara / Mar 9 2008 6:57 am

    I think that picture is a real winner. Like you I like my pictures to be sharp, but sometimes just a suggestion works well, together with the colour it does it for me.


  2. Robin / Mar 9 2008 7:25 am

    It looks like a painting to me, too. It’s lovely, and you’re right — it captures the mood.

  3. mon@rch / Mar 9 2008 8:40 am

    I love how you edited this to make it look like a painting! BRAVO!

  4. byrningbunny / Mar 9 2008 9:52 am

    This looks just like a painting! It’s beautiful and so effective.

  5. bookbabie / Mar 9 2008 12:26 pm

    I like, almost ghost like in feel, captures the mystic of those beautiful birds:)

  6. ladypercy / Mar 9 2008 12:47 pm

    I love the steam. It looks pretty awesome.

  7. Nicole / Mar 9 2008 11:17 pm

    Yep, I seldom delete photos unless they really are utter crap.
    This one almost looks like a painting :)!
    Great 😀

  8. Gandalf / Mar 10 2008 6:12 am

    I admire the eagles for wintering in Wisconsin. They obviously are highly intelligent beings.

  9. Gandalf / Mar 10 2008 7:06 am

    The more I return to the Eagle, the more fascinating I find the shot. It is misty, haunting & just plain spectacular. In spite of my proclivity to comment on snow (hence some playful comments on your other pix), I find the Eagle in winter inspiring. He or she is surviving in a harsh time and place, and at the same time maintaining majesty & pride.

  10. aullori / Mar 10 2008 1:24 pm

    For the eagle I say the same thing I think about tourists. If you can’t stand our winter you don’t deserve our summer. 🙂 I like this; it looks a bit (to me) like a huddled up old man on a park bench doing the very same thing. Really beautiful shot!

  11. kedarvideo / Mar 10 2008 1:53 pm

    Beautiful feeling connected to this picture. Congratulations!

  12. jpt / Mar 10 2008 5:10 pm

    the simple pictures are best, when you focus on a detail. nice job

  13. amuirin / Mar 11 2008 6:30 pm

    I thought for sure it was a painting, and the background seems pastel. And whether it was from manipulation, or already there, the posture of the bird conveys personality. I would hang this on my wall, proudly.


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