Photo: Sea eagle in flight over Nappstraumen, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. February 5, 2022. 11:34
Sea eagles are more or less a daily sight on Lofoten. Photographing them, however, tends to be a little more difficult. Although perhaps that is because I don’t consider myself anywhere near any sort of competency with wildlife photography, and usually only make any attempt when a seemly easy opportunity presents itself. Which in the case of sea eagles, happens on occasion.
Usually, they can be seen sitting on coastal rocks as one drives around. But as soon as you come to a stop, they’ll quickly fly away. The best opportunities I have is a rock they frequent on the road to my house, where I can drive past and park out of sight around the corner, then do my best to sneak up without being seen. Sometimes I’m successful, but usually not!
Driving home on a windy day last week, I noticed one eagle sitting on a small rock and another coming into land as well. I stopped my van and waited for a second. They didn’t fly away. Not having my camera prepared, I had to reach to the back of my van to grab it, and put on my 200-500mm lens, which was even further back in my van.
By now the first eagle had taken off, but the 2nd was still hovering almost parallel to me, fighting against the strong southern wind coming up the Nappstraumen. Rolling down my window, I was able to shoot from inside my van, as the eagle floated up and down in the wind. It soon landed for a second, but I think then decided the rock wasn’t really that nice of a place to rest, and took off again, this time slowly flying off around the corner.
Overall, I had maybe 3-4 minutes of being stopped with at least one eagle present, which is quite a long time! Unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared – I’m usually more watchful during the spring time when they are sitting around more often – and half that time was getting my camera setup. And it was quite dark and cloudy overall, so I needed and ISO of 1000, and really should have gone higher, as even at 1/800 second, there is still a bit of motion blur in the shot, as the eagle was bouncing around in the turbulent wind gusts.
Head over to my Instagram account for (almost) daily postings of the local conditions here on Lofoten: @distant.north
Nikon Z7 II
Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6