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Planning and patience result in a beautiful golden eagle portrait

Golden Eagle

TROMSØ :: NORWAY

Golden eagles weigh about as much as a domestic cat. But with wings that span more than 6.5 feet, these majestic birds of prey are surprisingly strong and agile, able to perform spectacular acrobatics while gliding through the air.

I have long been fascinated by eagles, which like to build nests along the coast around my home in northern Norway. But eagles are shy and difficult to photograph. So in summer 2015, I began a camera trap project. I climbed a nearby cliff, where I positioned a tree branch along a ledge, hoping it would make the perfect eagle perch. I then affixed a tripod head and camera to the branch, with a motion sensor attached.

After about three years, a golden eagle began using the branch as a lookout point. It quickly learned to ignore my camera’s clicks and flashes. My painstaking efforts paid off in 2018, when I finally succeeded in capturing this image showing the incredible power of the eagle in flight—poised to land, talons outstretched—with a commanding view of its coastal realm beyond. I yelled with joy when I discovered it. That feeling is my biggest motivator—and my best reward.

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World Wildlife magazine provides an inspiring, in-depth look at the connections between animals, people and our planet. Published quarterly by WWF, the magazine helps make you a part of our efforts to solve some of the most pressing issues facing the natural world.

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