Of Eagles, Herons and Exposure

On Friday, I was over in Seabeck attempting to shoot the eagles who are there in numbers, or were, (I think the midshipman fish migration on Hood Canal is done so the eagles have moved on.)

Anyway, on Friday, Liddy and I were over at Seabeck attempting to shoot bald eagles. The morning tide didn’t drop low enough to reveal all of oyster encrusted beach and the small tide pools that trap the fish making them easy prey for eagles and great blue herons.

The herons did all right. Their long legs allowed them to wade in the deeper water. Eagles. Not so much. The few that I saw were hanging out in the trees around Big Bear Creek waiting for the afternoon tide which would be the much lower tide.

This post was originally published on Dave’s website, NWMOMENTS.COM and is used with permission.

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I did get some shots of eagles, but none worth publishing. Here are a few of the shots I do like from the morning.

Long Exposure

Find a Composition

When the tide turned and began to rise, Liddy and I headed off to explore other opportunities. I was particularly looking for a location that would lend itself to a long exposure.

I found a promising subject in Harper, a small bay on the east side of the Kitsap Peninsula. There is a long fishing pier extending out into the sound here, and the background is nice.

Why Long Exposure

If you look at the shot above, you will see all the detail of the scene. The fishing pier, the rocks on the beach, the trees in the background, even a sailboat on that calm bay.

You also see all the ripples on the water. Lots of ripples. If we were driving a car over that surface, we would call it a washboard as we bounce down the road. Likewise, our eye bounces from wave to wave, never finding a place to rest. Very tiering.

Using a long exposure, the ripples will smooth out or totally disappear into a creamy surface like this:

Making the moment

In my work, I want to enable you to enjoy the things that I saw in that moment. The things that I thought make it.

I start on the beach, at the bottom. The texture of the stones, some covered with barnacles. Lots of places to explore with the eye. As we move out into the bay, we can hold on to the small rock poking up above the water. From there, the piling on the pier takes us out, way out to Blake Island. Follow the horizon and we arrive back at our bay, Harper Bay.

Here is a comparison of both images. You can move the slider to show one over the other.

Move the slider to the right, revealing the regular 1/250 second exposure. Take that visual journey through the picture. Now, move the slider to the left revealing the long x second exposure. Take that same journey. Ask yourself, which one is easier? More relaxing?

For me… it is of course the second one.

(Yeah – they aren’t aligned. – had to move – tide was rising 😋)

More to Learn

This is the beginning of my studies in the techniques of long exposure. There is much to learn. Some resources can be found on YouTube. I quite enjoy Attilio Ruffo. He is an Italian photographer who is currently discussing his love for the art.

Graham Clark is a long exposure advocate also. So much so that he has created a company selling excellent filters and tripods which you must have for this kind of work. You can download his Long Exposure Photography E-Book from his company site at Breakthrough.Photography. There is a link in the top banner of the page: FREE 52-PAGE LONG EXPOSURE GUIDE. He also has an excellent free video available through his store.

These aren’t affiliate links. I don’t make a nickel off his products some of which I have bought for my kit.


For this photo, I used a forty-five second exposure at f/16, ISO 800. ISO 800 was not right – should have been ISO 100 which would have made the exposure stretch out to 135 seconds.

It was almost noon, on a lovely day. To stretch the clock like this you will need one or two Neutral Density (ND) filters. Sunglasses for your camera. I use a LEE filter kit. It provides 100 mm square ND filters and a holder. For this shot, I used a 10 stop and a 3 stop filter for a total of 13 stops of darkening.

I also used a polarizing filter to cut the glare and allow us to see through the surface of the water. I attach a 105mm Breakthrough Photography CPL to the front of my LEE kit.

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