2021-2022 Eagle Season – The Finale!

This winter’s Eagle season did not disappoint (for me anyway)! I had a wonderful couple months looking for and finding Eagles in our area. I can tell that things are winding down when I bring home more image files of other critters than Eagles. So, I’m done actively looking for Eagles this season, but I’ll still be watching for them.

This is my favorite image from the valley floor this year. I rolled up on three juvenile Bald Eagles eating something in a field. The Raptor on the left is approaching full maturity (almost 5 years old) and the one on the right is maybe 3-4 years old.
This handsome specimen posed nicely for me for some time…
…as one can tell by the different position of the branches…
…and colors in the background.
I ama big fan of Eagles in Pine trees. This image has great light, so the Photo Gods were smiling on me.
The trees in this area had burned several years ago so the background is a bit different.
Sometimes, I get lucky and the subject does something a little unusual. No, he’s not giving thanks! He’s actually doing a little preening.
My lovely bride and I went out looking for Eagles, but all we found was this Blue Heron at the Dangberg Ranch.
Another day, the Eagles hid successfully, but we found a herd of Deer on Old Foothill Road just south of the state line. This image is the best of all that I shot, as trying to focus on antlers sticking up from the sage brush didn’t work for me that day.

Well, nothing against other wildlife, but Eagle Season is about the Eagles and the other stuff is just not the same. And so, it’s shifting to targets of opportunity while filling the days until I head to Ely NV and the Nevada Northern Railway’s Winter Photo Workshop in a few weeks. Enjoy – and stay tuned – PHOTOROGR

The Big 81 Weekend!

Dateline: October 8-10, 2021

Location: Nevada Northern Railway, Ely NV


Trains magazine has been in publication for 81 years. The Nevada Northern Railway is completing the restoration of Locomotive 81, a 2-8-0 built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1917. This locomotive was retired almost 60 years ago, but was resurrected by the dedicated crew at the NNRY. (If you’ve ever thought about being the Engineer on a steam locomotive, go the http://www.nnry.com and click on the visit/ride tab to see how you can do it!) Could there be a better reason to have a big weekend-long celebration?

Actually, Trains magazine had plans to celebrate 80 years of publication in 2020. We all know what happened then so they delayed their party and partnered with NNRY to have a much bigger impact. And what a weekend it was!

My lovely bride accompanied me on the adventure. She patiently sat on the trains while we rode to various locations, disembarked the photographers, and then the locomotives pulled back and forth numerous times at each location to the delight of all the cameras. She also served as my assistant around the East Ely Yard, but managed to get in a few frames of her own with her cell phone. I appreciate her support of my photography hobby. Je t’ami, Mon ChouChou!

I won’t bore you with all the images from every location we visited, but I will try to share the feeling of being there. Enjoy!

One of our first scenes – the Steam Crane demonstration. This crane is mounted on a rail car and powered by a steam engine. It was used to clear the tracks after crashes to keep the railroad moving. In this image, the crane is lifting the ore car to set it back on the tracks. Go to http://www.nnry.com to find more information on this beautiful machine.
This is the crew, taking a well deserved rest after the demonstration.
From the East Ely Yard, the 81 pulling a train.
A longer view.
Locomotive 81 with the 1956 Pontiac Hy-Rail car at the wig-wag signals.
Add in Locomotive 93 for a scene not found very often – in black and white for fun! With 60 photographers and videographers in attendance, space in the photo line was at a premium.
Locomotives 81 and 93 team up for the haul up Robinson Canyon in this image.
My favorite image from the weekend. We stepped off the train and navigated through tall sagebrush. Everyone turned right and headed for a road to set up up the photo line. I turned left and ventured into even taller sagebrush. Setting my tripod as tall as I could, I used the articulating screen on the back of the camera body to look up at the composition and take the shot.

As I said, I didn’t share all the images from the weekend. I hope that I have provided a nice cross section of images so you have a feel for how much fun it was, despite having to fight (figuratively, not literally) for a spot on a crowded photo line.

The NNRY received several grants in the last year to improve equipment, preserve and archive the rich history that makes this railway a National Historic Landmark, and restore the track that connects the East Ely Yard to the Magill Depot. I look forward to making more images of this wonderful piece of history.


Eagle Season – 2021-2022!

A couple months ago, I had lunch with an old friend who had moved away and returned for a visit. In the course of catching up, he chastised me for not blogging – especially my steam locomotive images. As you can see, it still took me a while to decide to share any images. My apologies!

The 2021-2022 Eagle Season has been wonderful for me. I’m getting more and better shots than I have at any time. I credit the Eagles for being accessible and patient, but I also credit the upgrades to my camera kit. A little over a year ago, I went mirrorless and purchased a Canon EOS R5. I worked it out at the Nevada Northern Railway Photo Workshop in February (and I did share those images!), through the summer in our travels to Glacier and North Cascades National Parks, and again in Ely at the big 81 weekend (celebrating Trains magazine’s 81 years of publication and Locomotive 81’s triumphant return to the track) in October.

For my return to blogging, I’ve chosen to start with Eagle images. In early December, my youngest son and I had planned a ride in our side by side. The weather didn’t cooperate (it would have been a very chilly ride) so we changed the plan, loaded cameras into the F-150, and headed out in search of Eagles. As we drove into the ‘Hot Zone,’ the area where I’ve had great success finding Eagles, I stopped and reminded him to keep an eye on the trees on his side of the truck. He immediately responded, ‘…like that one right there!’ Sure enough, in a tree no more than 20 yards away sat a gorgeous Bald Eagle. I pulled off the road and ran back to start shooting.

For the most part, he posed in a very dignified manner…
…but then he tired of us…
…and flew away!

As part of my new kit, I also purchased a Canon RF 800 f/11 lens. This lens, with its 800 mm focal length, allows me to bring my subjects close and fill the frame. This lens has a fixed aperture (f/11), allowing me to use a shutter priority mode and be ready for movement. The eye tracking focus feature in the R5 camera body keeps the focus point on the eye as the subject moves. The picture above illustrates how well those features work together to make a great picture.

Not all the subjects are that close, and the 800 mm focal length is constantly challenged. My camera is up to that challenge, however, as the following images show.

…easy to spot but a challenge to shoot against the dark tree…
…the shallow depth of field is perfect for wildlife pictures…
…I’m not sure what he got into, but he looks fairly intense…
…and then he got bored, and yawned like the rest of us…
…sometimes they are very serious…
…and sometimes they just look pastoral as they survey the river for food…
…this subject was in a tree not far from where my friend and I were standing…
…but chose to relocate to this tree a much farther distance away…
…and sometimes I get lucky and catch the subject adjusting position…

There’s more to follow as I continue to venture out, so stay tuned. Enjoy – PHOTOROGR