Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

I’ve been having a great time co-leading a workshop with my pal Robert O’Toole. We have a surprisingly superb group with many return clients from past trips. We’ve had more good weather and light than bad. Today we have more challenging conditions so it will be good to see what the students have learned.

I forgot to mention earlier that I did some smartphone photography through the plane window as we came over one of Alaska’s many glaciers. Using Trey Ratcliff’s amazing 100 Cameras in 1, I made the picture below. I was surprise by how well it turned out.

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

I’ve learned that Micro Four Thirds cameras can indeed be used to capture fast action shots. They are not as reliable in this function as say, a Nikon D3s or Canon 1DX, but it can be done. I have about an 85% keeper rate with the D3s and the 1DX. My keeper rate with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Olympus 75-300 (EFL 150-600) zoom is one fourth that. But it’s good enough to get some great action shots.

The trick I’ve learned is to manual focus on the area where you think the birds will be. Then use a smaller aperture, around f/8 to f/11 to give you greater depth of field. On the Olympus, when you turn the manual focus ring, the EVF automatically gives you a magnafied view of the scene, which makes critical manual focus easier. Then I simply wait for the eagles to fly through the pre-focused area and the attached photos prove it works. Give it a try if you’re using these cameras. It’s a tactic we used back in the day, before good/fast autofocus back in the film days and it’s still valid today.

One of my favorite shots of this trip so far appears above. This one happens to have been made with a Canon 1DX and 300mm F/4 but it was less about the camera and more about luck. We found a group of immature eagles. They are actually very beautiful and this one was very active. I caught him just before he grabbed for a fish and the result was it looks like he’s dancing on the water. I have lots of eagle pictures so it takes a great shot to get me excited, but I think this one qualifies.

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons – Olympus OMD

We’re heading out on a foggy morning with the possibility of snow today. I’ll let you know how we feel. Thanks for following along on my eagle adventure. I appreciate all the positive comments I’m receiving on the eagle diary.

______

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Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. Scott,
    Really enjoy reading all your blog posts but in particular this one as visiting Alaska is something I have not been fortunate enough to experience first hand. Reading this series makes me realize even more how much I am not looking forward to you retiring.

    Reply
  2. Scott,
    Thanks so much for sharing your adventure. I’ve really enjoyed your images and “camera explanations”, especially shots taken with the GH3. Fortunate to have made two Alaska summer trips with lots of landscape and bear images, but the eagles were scarce, even in Haines and Homer. Guess I’ll need to wrap up and go back again in March. (-:)
    Hope you get a chance to use the GH3 w/ the 100-300 lens for some action shots!

    Cheers!

    Reply
  3. Scott,
    thanks for all the great posts and pics from Alaska. It is nice to see shots with Micro 4/3 systems also!! As the owner of the OMD I welcome the tips like the ones in this post for the OMD. I think there would be many that would welcome more tips and information based on yours and Richard’s experiences with the OMD since you both are working with them. :) In fact I thought it was mentioned that perhaps you two are doing a book on it? I’ll be first in line to get a copy!!

    thanks again.

    Rick From Huntley, Il.

    Reply

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