South Dakota Outdoors


Geese. Lake Byron, South Dakota

I have had the chance recently to get outdoors a bit and try my hand a nature photography. Below are some shots from some recent trips into the area surrounding Lake Byron, South Dakota followed by some commentary.

Geese, Corn Field
Goose Feather

Bald Eagles

Young Bald Eagle

Young Bald Eagle

Young Bald Eagle taking off.

Compilation of five photos of a young Bald Eagle taking off.

Three Bald Eagles

Three Bald Eagles.
I have had a difficult time getting close to the older ones.

Young Bald Eagle

Young Bald Eagle

Photo Notes

Nature photography, or more specifically bird photography, as featured here is something that is pretty new to me. It requires long lenses, tests the limits of your equipment and requires serious patience. For most of these photos, the temperature was near 15°F, nearing -1°F with wind. Whenever I was not shooting I had to take the battery out of the camera and put it near a source of heat to keep the battery from dying. Even with that, my 30D which can normally handle 11+ frame burst in RAW, was dropping to about three before having to pause to write for about 20 seconds.

Birds are small and tend not to fly near you, especially in SD during hunting season. My newly acquired Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS coupled with my 30D gives me an equivalent of 320mm, but even that fell short most of the time. I’m sure if I coupled the lens with a 2X Extender I would have adequate reach. One thing is for sure, bird photography requires some serious equipment to pull off correctly.

With all the trouble I had, there were some pretty amazing moments. The large flocks of Geese leaving the lake was straight out of Planet Earth. Also, at one point as I was driving, the young Bald Eagle that was in the last shot followed me beside the road for about 10 minutes. Thankfully I was the only one on the road and was able to stop multiple times for photo’s.


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