Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The story behind "Pair of Bald Eagles and Moon"

Pair of Bald Eagles and Moon, Skagit Valley, Washington

The lucky part was driving behind this bald tree and finding two bald eagles using it as a platform to hunt for food. The not so lucky part involved wading in a freshly-fertilized field to line up the tree with the rising moon.

On a first date, no less.

I did not plan to take any pictures on this particular afternoon. My date mentioned that she liked the outdoors and I thought a fun activity would be to drive to the Skagit Valley to look at the wintering snow geese. It is an amazing sight: tens of thousands of snow geese spend a fair part of the winter in the farmers fields around Mount Vernon. The previous winter, I managed to get a relatively close-up image of a flock in flight and I doubted that I would get anything better on this particular day. My camera gear was in the trunk, though, just in case.

We started out in the south end of the valley and saw a couple of trumpeter swans out in a muddy field, then proceeded to drive north where I was sure we were going to see the geese.

Along the way, I got distracted. Driving along Fir Island Road, I saw two bald eagles sitting together in a tree. I have plenty of images of single bald eagles in trees, but I didn't have any images of two sitting together. I was tempted to keep driving and avoid making a bad impression on my date until I noticed the moon rising in my rear-view mirror.

I pulled off to the side of the road, pointed out the birds to my date and pulled out my camera gear. I could get an image of the birds together from the road, but I really wanted the moon in the frame as well. Problem is, the only way to do that would be to walk out into a freshly-fertilized field. Judging from the smell, it was painfully obvious the farmer used organic fertilizer.

I apologized to my date, explained what a unique photographic opportunity this was, and told her I would be right back. Instead, she said she wanted to trudge out into the field with me.

After watching and photographing the eagles we did eventually head north and see the snow geese.

And yes, we're still together.

(Follow Kevin Ebi’s photography on Facebook or Instagram. Also, check out Kevin's book, Year of the Eagle, which documents a year in the lives of Pacific Northwest bald eagles.)

No comments: