Shooting Eagles

A visitor’s Guide to the Eagles of Lackawaxen PA

Eagles of Laxawaxen PA
Eagles of Laxawaxen PA

John Manna Photography / January 2017
IMAGINATION-ART BLOG POST #2

The national symbol of the United States of America, the Bald Eagle was in danger of extinction 40 years ago, largely due to the use of the pesticide DDT.

Due to conservation actions taken by the American public, habitat protection, and the federal government’s banning of DDT,  the eagle has made a remarkable recovery.

During the months of December through February, Bald Eagles make their annual migration to access warmer feeding grounds.

Eagle viewing can offer an exhilarating and memorable experience.

The Bald Eagle is clearly recognizable by its striking white head, brown body, and hooked yellow beak, with a wingspan of 6 to 7 feet, it is hard to miss.

 BEST SPOTS FOR SHOOTING

There are many viewing areas along the Delaware River to explore, but The Delaware Highland Conservancy located at 176 Scenic Drive, Lackawaxen, PA 18435 has a prime spot and there is off street parking.

 HOW TO GET THERE

Address is: 176 Scenic Drive, Lackawaxen, PA 18435

WHEN TO GO

  • There are resident eagles that live in the area year round, but your chances for viewing increase at the end of October through the beginning of January.
  • Eagles are most active during the morning 7:00-9:00 AM, and late afternoon 4:00-5:00 PM, but there may be activity during the entire day.
  • Plan on spending many hours standing and waiting for the action of fishing and fighting.
  • The Delaware Highlands Conservancy gives guided eagle habitat tours, provides maps and information for those who want to try eagle watching on their own, and has volunteers who staff popular viewing sites to help visitors spot the eagles, and answer questions.  Phone: 570-226-3164

 PREPARE

  • You will need to be patient while viewing eagles. It can be hit and miss, so be prepared to spend some time at the location.  The site is by the water and it will be cold. I recommend that you dress in layers, bring a warm hat and insulated gloves and insulated shoes.
  • The site is a bit remote in the Winter, and you may want to pack a lunch and hot drink.

 VIEWING and PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS

  • Eagles can be seen flying high along the mountainous tree lines as far as 400 – 500 yards away, but if you are lucky, they can be as close as 50 yards.  Bring a good pair of binoculars and the longest zoom lens that you have available. You will need a 400-600mm lens to get the best shots.
  • Scan the tree line for eagles that are perched in the tree tops.
  • Look overhead for eagles soaring high in the sky.
  • Check ice floes or river islands for eagles sunning themselves or enjoying a meal.
  • Arrive early (7 am – 9 am) or stay late (4 pm – 5 pm), when eagles are most active.
  • Be patient.

Eagle Watching Etiquette

For the safest and least intrusive viewing experience, please follow these guidelines when observing or photographing nesting eagles:

  • Use binoculars or a spotting scope to observe eagles closely.
  • Photographers should use telephoto lenses.
  • Do not stand directly under an eagle nest or in close view of the eagles.
  • Federal law requires you to stay at least 330 feet away from any nest. This distance is also true for individual eagles that may be perched on a tree or standing on the ground.
  • Once parked safely off the road, remain in or near your vehicle. Vehicles can serve as very effective “bird blinds”.
  • Be as quiet as possible. Don’t honk, rev your engine, play loud music, shout or make any other loud noises.
  • Move quickly and quietly to any designated observation areas.
  • Never try to make eagles fly or stand up at the nest.
  • Always ask permission before entering private property.
  • Keep pets at home.
  • Always give eagles and other wildlife the space they need.
  • Please share your knowledge and set an example for others.

VIEW MORE EAGLE PHOTOGRAPHS

About

About the Author

John Manna is a New York / New Jersey Metro Area based digital artist photographer who looks for inspiration in turning everyday images into whimsical works of art to be enjoy for generations to come.

First Post

 

Ghost Riders in the Sky

IMAGINATION-ART BLOG POST #1
I recently traveled to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton Mountains in Wyoming. This awe inspiring area is a landscape and wildlife photographer’s dream.

Yellowstone has an amazing variety of wildlife, natural beauty, rugged wilderness, majestic peaks, and abundant wildlife. More about Yellowstone during future blog posts.

Teton Mountains

In my opinion, there are few landscapes as striking and memorable as that of the Teton mountain range. To me the Tetons, with its abundance of Mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers and big skies conjures up the rich cultural history of the American old West, pioneer homesteads and cattle ranches.

While traveling along Highway 191, heading towards Jackson Hole, a song began to play on the radio. “Ghost Riders in the sky” , written by Stan Jones and performed by multiple artists, the Outlaws being my favorite. The Outlaws 1996 performance of Ghost Riders in the Sky

The song tells the story of a cowboy who has a vision of red-eyed, steel-hooved cattle thundering across the sky, being chased by the spirits of damned cowboys. One of them warns him that if he does not change his ways, he will be doomed to join them, forever “trying to catch the Devil’s herd across these endless skies”.

Inspiration comes in many forms

The song’s powerful imagery in my mind combined with the beautiful scenery was the inspiration for creating the Ghost Rider’s composite image.

A composite image is one image made of multiple photos placed and blended together. The goal is to create a visual illusion, creating a scene that looks as though it existed but never actually did.

Creating the composite image

When creating a composite, I start with the background. I used a series of seven images taken during my visit. These were later combined in photoshop to produce this panorama of the Teton mountains.

Teton panarama
The foreground was created using a series of five photographs taken in Wyoming of the Snake River. The background and foreground were then blended in photoshop.

Foreground grassland

Back home in the studio

My first step after returning to New Jersey was to gather some props to add to the realism and feel of the image. Flea markets, and thrift stores are a wonderful source. I found this great duster at a local Good Will store, and the cowboy hat was a flea market find.

Studio cowboy

Photography can be a wonderful experience and composite images are only limited by your own imagination!  Please contact me to discuss your imagination inspired project.

About

About the Author

John Manna is a New York / New Jersey Metro Area based digital artist photographer who looks for inspiration in turning everyday images into whimsical works of art to be enjoy for generations to come.