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Anything outdoors!  Tornadoes, eagles, blizzards, or auroras.  If it is in the sky, running through the woods or swimming in the water, I'm there!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Shots from the weekend...weak northern lights and some of the eagles are home

I wish it would stay -30° out until the first chase day up here. What a zoo. Disrespectful snowmobilers are my new target. Bottom line....if I catch you crossing either federal or state protected land on camera, I am going straight to the local conservation officer with the images or footage. I will show up on court day to testify. GUARANTEED.

Friday started out with a solar wind gust that triggered a weak northern lights show. Ended up above the west / northwest side of Mille Lacs Lake. Long story why, but I do have a new 8 GB CF card for one of the cameras after getting detoured through Brainerd.


This is about as dark as dark gets in that area. Some ambient light may have actually helped in this case as ISO 1600 with an EV of +5.0 did not produce much for pretty pictures at 30s. I should have just bulbed it at ISO 400 for 4 or 5 minutes.


Eventually boredom got the better of me and I tried making some 3D images with the light from my cell phone. At least the coyotes took mercy on me and sang a couple of Bon Jovi songs. At least it sounded like Bon Jovi.


After getting home quite late, I decided to opt for a little extra sleep. When I got up finally, a little hoar frost was on the trees out the front window across the bay.

I finally made it out to poke around and decided to check on three local eagle nests. All three had eagles on them starting to do some spring cleaning and repair work before nesting hits full throttle next month.



This nest is a LONG ways off. Major crop. The point is this female is probably the largest eagle I have seen. I'm willing to bet she rivals the large females in Alaska. I'd estimate this bird is about 18 lbs with a wing span over 100". She is ENORMOUS!!

I didn't get any pics of the third nest as it is rather close to a road and the birds are very spooky. I'm guessing it was the male pushing sticks around as I passed. He immediately stopped working as I drove past and kept a close eye to make sure I never came to a stop.

Sunday was not a photo day per se. It should have been.


Total quiet is something I need a healthy dose of on a regular basis and a 4-5 mile hike on the snowshoes is the best way I know how to achieve it....almost. My favorite winter weather involves an air temp of -15° or colder with no wind. Most snowmobilers won't venture out on day like that but with an air temp of nearly +30°, I could hear the near constant drone of the sleds off to my northwest.


What was supposed to be an afternoon of adding some fur to the collection ended up being a simply fun (albeit sweaty) pleasure hike of a little over 4.5 miles spanning a couple of hours. The reason why I say "pleasure" is the tally included 3 eagles, 3 healthy and fat whitetails, 2 very playful river otters, and a curious raccoon who was having a tough time figuring out what I was dressed in white camo. The otters where the highlight as I observed them for about a half hour running up the bank of an open creek, sliding down their self made bobsled run in the snow into the water only to quickly climb the bank and repeat the process. Truly was one of those times I wish I had brought even a small point and shoot camera to snap a few images to share with my readers. Hopefully once my semi-hectic schedule allows it, I'll trade the .22-250 for the 500mm lens and go back.

In the mean time, settling into a cold week here with temps heading for the -20° mark during the overnights and a little above the donut during the day. Spring is getting closer and with it will come the towering cumulus clouds I so desire right now. Until then, I'll just enjoy some arctic air quiet.

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