Wednesday 19 March 2014

Regal Eagle

There are many amazing birds of prey in Africa, but there is one that is undoubtedly the "king of the African sky" due to its beauty, splendour and hauntingly evocative, distinctive call. I am talking about the African Fish Eagle, of course.

During our recent Wild Eye photographic safari on the Chobe river that lies between Namibia and Botswana, we had some amazing encounters with these birds. This particular female was sitting on the edge of the river and we were able to glide our specialised photographic boat right up to her and capture some striking portraits. It's not every day you can be this close to a raptor in the wild and capture these images (the ones you normally see are taken of birds in captivity or in rehabilitation centres).

This photo is pretty much full frame at 36 megapixels, and the details are mind-blowing. I particularly love the tuft of feathers blown up by the wind on the crown of her head. I opened the aperture as wide as it can go to smooth out the green riverbank behind her and create a pleasing separation between subject and environnent. I was hand-holding my lens, so I pushed the shutter speed to a high enough value to compensate for possible camera shake.

I used the amazing Nik Color Efex 4 plugin to extract some more detail and contrast from the bird - since the conditions were overcast and the light was flat.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 500mm f4 VR-II
f4.0  |  1/1250 SS  |  ISO-140

click on the photo to display at optimal sharpness and resolution

I hope you enjoyed this one. Have a superb day, my friends...

Morkel Erasmus


  1. I can hear his call in my head looking at that shot!

  2. Great details in the whites Morkel. Always a ball to photograph them!

    1. Hi Jaco - thanks for your comment, yes they are amazing to observe and photograph.

  3. Terrific shot! Congratulations! It´s always such a thrill to encounter these wonderful animals, especially when they allow you to get that close!
    Their song is so lovely, got it as ringtone in my phone, hahaha... every time I hear it it feels as if I´m back there :)