How about looking into the eyes of this guy?
He is a Long-crested Eagle, a bird that is native to Africa. This particular bird however has a permanent home at the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis Missouri.
The reason he is here perhaps explains the intense look in his eyes. He was seized by the US Fish and Wildlife Service when someone cut off his crest, spray painted him, and attempted to sneak him into the US with the thought of selling him illegally.
When I took this photo, I was hoping to catch this intense gaze because I think it helps tell his story. To get this image, I had rented a 70-300mm lens. I was also using a tripod. I settled on an f-stop of 5.6 because I thought it left a lot of detail in the bird and also blurred out the background in a slightly surreal way. I was hoping that the odd background would also suggest that this bird really does not belong here in the US, he should really have been left in the wild but now has to stay here.
I took a bracketed exposure because I knew I wanted to create an HDR image. I used Photomatix to create the HDR and then did my sharpening in Photoshop. This bird is part of a series that I created. Other birds I have blogged about include a Eurasian Eagle Owl and a Barn Owl.
A version of this images is available on Picfair.
What do you think of this bird? Pretty intense looking? Have you ever seen one? Have a comment just in general? feel free to leave it below.