Mike Jones told we there were Bald Eagles at Lake Athens. I decided to make them my new project. I have been out three trying to get a good image. The first try had a brilliant background, but it meant the birds were too dark. The second set of images were better, but the background was flat and we were still too far away. The third time was a bit better.
I called the land owner who gave me permission to go onto her property to take some pictures. Steve Gonna and I got up early and headed to the spot to be ready at sunrise. We parked his truck picked up a tent and our two chairs and walked silently to the east side of their sitting tree. The eagle was not fooled nor very happy. He soared away to his other sitting tree while we set up our tent and then tried to sit silently awaiting his return.
Eventually, we could hear his distictive screech as he circled the area. Then we saw him land in the field. He sat quietly on the ground with a flag right in front of him. He had a fish in his feet. Then the took flight again and circled the area and then eventually came in over our heads and stopped on the sitting tree.
We both furiously worked our cameras as we tried to capture the moment. He was on the tree for 44 seconds (from 7:45:40 to 7:46:24). We invested about three hours in the whole adventure. I got 22 usable images, of which two showed enough promise for me to edit them and post them. The one above is my favorite. I like how the shape of the bird is mimicking the shape of the top of the tree. I like his open beak as I can still hear his call. His eye seems so fiery. His tallons grip with such power.
Its the best eagle picture I have ever taken, but it is far from the best eagle picture. There are things I like about it, but my dream is to take one so good, that National Geographic would publish it. I need to be closer with better light and better background. I need mountains or bears or golden clouds. I want him to pop against the background with a brilliant white head.
The gap between our dream and our reality is rarely as clearly seen as in a photographic comparison. We think of ourselves as good, virtuous and impressive. Then the true plumb-line is held up next to our lives and we find that we are flawed, sinful and ordinary. We might delude ourselves, but the truth is we are worse than we want to admit. We are more sinful that we are willing to confess and more in need of grace than we are comfortable accepting.
I once asked my mentor, Henri Nouwen, why he had called his major work The Wounded Healer instead of calling it the Healed Healer. Was it not the case the Christ has healed us and therefore we offer hope to the world out of our healed reality. He paused after my question and thought for a long while. Then he said to me, "I never get to the point that I feel like I do not need Jesus. If we ever get to a place where we do not need Jesus, then we are in the wrong place." We are always in need of healing because we are always in the condition of being a sinner.
I can see all the flaws in my picture. May I see my life as clearly.