6 December 2014

Where the Bald Eagles fly

Harrison Mills, British Columbia

Harrison Mills is a little town about an hour and a half east of Vancouver. There is nothing really there, so we booked four days in a hotel in Harrison Hot Springs. It's too expensive to take our trailer on and off the Island and apart from that many of the RV parks in the area close in November for the winter. Lindsay had checked the weather and it was supposed to be fine, but I'm not sure if he put planet earth because when we got there it was raining. Rain was forecast for the next day and then from Monday lunchtime onwards for the rest of the week, which gave us a day and a half of no rain.

First stop before our hotel was the information centre to find out where the viewing spots for the bald eagles were. If the weather is bad they just sit in the trees she informed us :( Apparently it had been raining for weeks, which was causing the river to rise making it harder for the eagles to get the salmon. After spawning, the adult salmon die and fall to the bottom of the river.

Night falls early at this time of year, so we left our scouting until the next morning. Trying to find the spots marked on our map was a little challenging as there weren't really any clear signs off the main road. The first place we found was a pull off, there were a few bald eagles in the trees but way too far away even with a 600mm lens. We thought there might be some at the fish hatchery but there weren't. After coming back from one of the lakes we found Pretty Estates, drove around, nup. Next place was the golf club. There were some signs on the trees marking the way down to the observatory deck. Again the eagles were sitting in the trees. Tomorrow was supposed to be fine, so we would come back.

We had good internet back at the hotel so spent the rest of the afternoon watching You Tube clips from Scott Kelby about travel photography and composition which were very good. Most of the tips I already knew but it is good to reinforce them, the one I came away with that I have to work on is to "work a scene", reminds me of that scene in Pretty Woman, work it, work it, work it! He showed a number of shots he took of the same scene, so that you could see all the angles he tried before he found "the one".

The local pub was just across the street from our hotel and we went there for dinner. The manager's father was born in Australia so he liked to come and chat to us about all things Australian. He introduced us to another photographer who was running an eagle photography workshop. We discussed the various places to go, some we had been to, others were new.

We tried a few of the other places first thing but ended up back at the golf course observatory. I had decided that the eagles were too far away for my lens so I would concentrate on doing some landscapes.

At the observatory we met a couple from Idaho who had been there twice before. Jerry took us near where the other observatory platform was that we couldn't find on the first day. Perfect.

The following day we arrived very early as it was due to rain around midday. Because of the impending rain, the sky was overcast and lighting was low.

Seeing as it was due to rain from Monday lunchtime onwards we decided to go home a day early.