Tawny Eagle Camera Gear and Processing Info

Posted January 28th, 2014 by   |  Photography, Wildlife  |  Permalink
Tawny eagle

My new favorite bird in Tanzania is the tawny eagle. Read the story to find out why.

I received a lot of questions on the details surrounding the photography of the tawny eagle featured in the January 2014 newsletter. Here’s one of the questions from a reader and my answers.


I attended your lighting class in Houston last November.

Could you please tell me how and with what you shot the birds below? In particular, what lens, camera, settings, venue and degree of post-processing?

I am evaluating a new Nikor 70-200 f4, to see if it gives sharper focus than my 70-300 f 4-5.6. I have made some indoor and outdoor shots at 200mm for camparison and can discern a very slight improvement with the 70-200 f4. I am torn between returning it to B&H (I’m within 30 days) and applying that money toward a 200mm or 300mm prime. Of course, that would mean lugging more glass around. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



Hi Chuck –

The pics were taken with my Nikon D800. I used a Nikon 200-400mm f/4 with the Nikon 1.4x TC II-E teleconverter. I processed each of these in Lightroom 5 and only adjusted five sliders:
1. White Balance (shot was originally a bit cool because of the overcast lighting conditions)
2. Highlights (down to keep information in the white feathers)
3. Shadows (up to pull out detail in eyes and under wings)
4. Clarity (up to add a small amount of local contrast)
5. Vibrance (up to give the colors a tiny pop)

Total time in Lightroom 5 was probably 30 seconds or less.

Regarding lens choices, if you are serious about doing bird photography, then you’ll need to get out to 500mm or longer. Most serious birders use 600mm or 800mm or longer. If you go with a prime 300mm, then I recommend the 300mm f/2.8 and the Nikon 2.0x TC III-E model. That will get you out to 600mm and still be somewhat affordable and somewhat portable.

Here are links to the lenses I refer to above:

Nikon 300mm f/2.8

Nikon 200-400mm f/4

Nikon 500mm f/4

Nikon 600mm f/4

Nikon 800mm f/5.6

Nikon TC-14E II

Nikon TC-20III E


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