Like most photographers, I have a bucket list of places, things, or opportunities that I would like to photograph sometime. One near the very top was a bald eagle in flight in a natural habitat. My dream became a reality in 2018 while on a family vacation on Bois Blanc Island, Michigan.
I was told ahead of time that several baldies were near the area we would be, and I came prepared with the camera gear. After a few hours staring out over the Mackinac Straits, we caught a glimpse of this beautiful large bird. I grabbed my gear and ran to the water’s edge.
I could not believe my eyes as this magnificent bald eagle flew circles around the area. The whole time he was watching me and also keeping a close scan on the water below. After a few passes, I think he grew comfortable and focused less on me and more on the water. Eventually, he dove into the water and brought out a fish in his talons. Again, something I NEVER thought I would see with my own eyes!
After he swooped down and took his next meal, I watched him fly just a hundred yards or so from me into the top of a tree. Unfortunately, I did not have a good vantage point to photograph any further. My family asked if I had any luck and asked where the eagle went. My response was simple…”the eagle has landed.” And from that point on, my bald eagle “friend” had a name. “Apollo.”
Although my initial experience was only a quick couple of minutes, it brought out a flood of emotion. The visual grace and beauty of this bird was something I cannot articulate. Perhaps it was the excitement of seeing an eagle in the wild and photographing him. Perhaps it was seeing the nation’s symbol and feeling a little pride. Whatever that feeling was, it has not left.
I saw Apollo again in 2019 and plan to return again in 2020. I am excited to see him again, and hope for many more photo opportunities. Maybe some friends will join him on the island.