Nature,  Photo Stories,  Wildlife

The Story Behind the Photo: Sandy Ridge Bald Eagle

The Photo Story

Those of you that follow the blog, know that one of my favorite places for bird photography is Sandy Ridge Reservation in Northeast Ohio.  I always seem to leave Sandy Ridge with good photo opportunities of waterfowl, wading birds, song birds, and raptors.

Sandy Ridge Bald Eagle

This was the first nice weekend day of the year and I headed out to Sandy Ridge in the morning.  I got there right at 8am when they open and was the first person in the park. It’s about a ½ mile walk through the woods to get to the marsh area of Sandy Ridge. 

Upon leaving the woods, I stopped and looked around the marsh to see what was happening.  One of the resident adult bald eagles was sitting in a dead tree in the marsh not too far from the trail.  I was able to get a quite a few shots of the eagle before a walker scared him off.

The eagle was side lit so the left side is brighter than the right side of the bird.  I increased the exposure compensation to bring out more details in the shadows.   However, you need to be careful that you don’t blow out the highlights in the eagle’s white head.


Camera:  Canon 5d Mark iii
Lens: Canon 500mm f/4 with 1.4x teleconverter
Focal Length:  700mm
ISO:  500
Aperture:   f/7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/1250 second
Exposure Compensation: +1
Lighting:  Clear, sunny morning

Post Processing

  • Cropped the photograph in Lightroom 5.
  • Used Google Viveza 2 to additionally lighten and darken portions of the bald eagle.
  • Processed the photo using the Detail light II Filter in Topaz Detail.
  • Used Topaz DeNoise and a Layer Mask in Photoshop CC to selectively remove the noise from the photo.
  • Selectively sharpened the image using the Unsharp filter and a Layer Mask in Photoshop CC
  • Used the Darken / Lighten Center filter in Color Efex Pro 4 to highlight the subject by lightening the eagle and darkening the sky.

Written by Martin Belan

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Nature Photography at Sandy Ridge Reservation
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Photographing Ducks at the Castalia Duck Pond

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