Total Silence, Then You See It

May was sunny in 2018 as we stepped aboard a small fishing boat.

Saying hello to the Captain we sat down, my heart beating faster as the boat engine started.

Slowly we left the small fishing village looking around at every movement. The sea was calm and I had my attention firmly on my camera settings; had I done enough research to capture the image I wanted so badly? If I got it, it would take pride and place on my wall at home in full view for all to see.

An hour went by. We saw a Red Throated Diver – another first for me. Waves gently hit the side of the boat.

A few clouds appeared and I began to panic. My anxiety started to kick in.

Would there be enough light hitting the camera sensor? Would I be able to get the fast shutter speed of 1/2000? Is my battery full? Did I put the SD Card in? Should i use Manual mode or Aperture Priority mode?

Checking the camera, Ruth could see the excitement building. I’d spoken and dreamed of this moment – some good dreams and some nightmares where the camera had failed to work (which had happened to me before with Canon).

Having traveled all this way, I had fallen in the bay the day before when out walking and this was playing on my mind. I had slipped, hitting the deck, the camera taking the full brunt on the body, covered in water and mud. I had limped back to the house we were staying at, stripped off all the wet garments and had sat praying that my beloved camera was going to be OK for the trip next day.

It was time. All the worrying would have to wait – the moment was about to happen.

The boat stopped and the anchor was dropped. Total peace and quiet – no wind, no gulls overhead, only chit chat from the people sat across from me. I think they were also wondering whether my setting were going to be OK.

The Captain said “Well we are here, and it’s a matter of waiting to see if it comes. When, and if, it comes all depends on if its hungry but when it does it will come in flying horizontal about 500 feet up looking down for the fish on top of the water. Don’t get too excited when you spot it a mile away as it will come so close you with the big Lenses will have to pull back if you have a zoom.”

Heart racing, palms sweating, finger twitching; hovering above the shutter button. Then I got sight of it, filling the viewfinder against the grey sky.

The White Tailed Eagle Canon 7DMK2 100-400 MK2

Not knowing at the time if any of the images were in focus or if they would edit, she came in for a second run, this time swooping from 200 feet downwards like a dart.

She tucked her wings back to increase speed and then the moment came and this huge eagle opened her wings and with a snatch took the fish from the top of the water. It happened so quick and sometimes I wish i could witness it without looking through the half inch window of a viewfinder.

Did it get the image for my wall?

As the magnificent eagle flew high into the sky, I gazed at it with total admiration. To be able to see this once persecuted bird that was hunted to extinction in 1918. Amazing.

Ruth gazed across at me with a very worried look on her face as I looked down at the LCD screen on my camera, my finger scrolling through the images. I looked up and a Cheshire Cat couldn’t have smiled any bigger.

What a trip we had, and to top it off a Dolphin came into check the boat out.

Bottled Nosed Dolphin?

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