Eagles of Starved Rock - Update 3/10/14
February 04, 2014 • Leave a Comment
I was able to make it out to Starved Rock State Park in Utica, IL a few weeks ago, and there are a lot of Eagles out there from the North feeding from the Illinois River. This was my first attempt to capture these wonderful raptors outside the zoo and I came away wanting more. I took my shots with my Canon T3i, using a rented Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens from Calumet Photo in Oak Brook. Once Jack Frost gives us a break I plan on making it back out there to attempt to capture more Eagles hunting and capturing fish. I will be taking my (Craigslist) new Tamron 70-300mm F4,VC, USD, SP lens to compare performance with the Canon which is quadruple the cost of the Tamron.
Well I and a photographer friend of mine made it back out to Starved Rock this past weekend but most of the Eagles had already left for the North. I counted five Eagles, three of which were nested on the tiny Leopold Island, which placed them out of range of my 70-300mm Tamron lens. A large juvenile did a fly by of the Starved Rock overlook where we were stationed. But I was unable to capture it as it quickly flew out of range while I was still adjusting my camera settings (rookie mistake). As we were about to leave disappointed, I did a final drive by of the campgrounds along the Illinois River and spotted a Bald Eagle perched in a tree. I was able to squeeze off a few frames before it took off, and the early comparisons showed me why the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 is considered a L class lens and the Tamron is not. I suspect the day being mostly overcast with limited sunlight did not help either. But overall, I think the Tamron is an excellent lens and is a definite upgrade over my Canon 55-250mm. We are planning to go to the lock and dam in Iowa, but this time we will remember to phone first.
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