Friday, February 14, 2020

Golden Eagles Fresno and Madera County CA

Dale Matson

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Golden Eagle Above Nest

I am blessed to know where there are five eagle nests. When you know where the nests are, you have a much better chance of seeing, photographing and videoing eagles. In fact, I know where there are three nests of Golden Eagles. I enjoy photographing goldens more than bald eagles.
Two years ago, I wrote about a pair of Golden Eagles that raised their two chicks and a Red-Tailed Hawk chick to fledge over a period of four months.
While they didn't use the same nest last year, I think that the female of the pair has laid her eggs in the same nest again and have watched them across Millerton Lake with binoculars. We’ll see.
These photographs are from a Fresno County and a Madera County nest site. Goldens are not as cooperative as Bald Eagles and don’t stick around for long.
The photographs were taken with the Sony A7R4 and the Sony 200-600 G lens with a 1.4 TC. I also cropped some of the photographs. Light is tricky and I have more poor photographs than good ones. I usually shoot on manual, F10, 1/1600 to 1/2000 and auto ISO. The focus zone depends and ranges from “wide” to “center” to “spot”. For flying birds, “wide” seems the best. Eagles in a tree almost always have intervening branches which makes focusing more difficult. While I have the focus set for animals, I have not had the “Eye Autofocus” kick in. Another problem with goldens is they fly low and fast. They are second only to the Peregrine Falcon and once they take off, Katie bar the door. I would love to have the Sony GM 400 2.8 lens but the cost is prohibitive.
Thanks to Dean for the tip on the location of Fresno County Golden Eagles.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Endangered Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep 2020

Dale Matson

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Endangered Sierra Nevada Ram

Sharon and I had an opportunity to spend a couple of days in the eastern Sierra Nevada canyons from Lone Pine to Big Pine. These are some of the places the endangered sheep hang out in the winter to find better grazing and get out of the snow and cold.
Additionally, I bought a new Sony 200-600mm lens and put it on my Sony A7R4. With a 1.4 TC this gave me quite a reach especially when cropped. Even cropped, the files are big. I was very happy with the performance and used boulders as my tripod.
Monday was an overcast day but it has advantages in how the photographs come out in some ways. Sharon and I hit a couple of new places and one old place to no avail. We just couldn’t find any sheep using our 10X binoculars and were getting discouraged. Our feet were wet from hiking in snow.
The last canyon we went to, I finally spotted a group of sheep and we stayed there till near dark. The following morning, we stopped by Steve Yeager’s (the Sheep Whisperer) place and we told him we were going up Pine Creek above Rovana. After glassing that area with no sightings, we met Steve and Moose his Grand dog in the place we found the sheep on Monday. After being there until about noon, we decided to look for some Tule Elk but first we were going to check the canyon to the south. As it turned out, we found more sheep and decided to climb up as far as we could to get closer shots and get a better angle.
It is difficult when you are 75, a mile up and have to climb with the weight of a big lens and camera but sheep fever had taken me up these steep slopes before many times. There was one ram in particular I wanted to get closer to.
All in all, it was a great two days and we even photographed and filmed the Tule Elk which were not far below us near the road back to highway 395.
We then headed back to Fresno and arrived home about 8:30pm.

 At Least I Photographed A Deer Near Rovana
 Sheep Nearly Hidden In Brush

 Can You See The Sheep On This Rock Formation?

 The Ram At The Bottom Is Mainly Why I Climbed

 This Is The Guy I Was After
 Tule Elk

 Steve and Sharon
24 Sheep
 You can support the sheep here:

YouTube Video Here: