Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

Classically Coastal

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In the Field

Classically Coastal. Barkley Sound, SW coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. 8 April 2019.

Whenever I'm on a photo tour I'm looking for iconic or "signature" shots which capture the "essence" or feel of the trip (or the region that the trip visits). More often than not the shots that become my signature shots for a particular trip are animalscape shots that show both a wildlife subject and convey a feel for the sense of the location. Of course, while I still like shooting "tighter" shots and animal portraits, I find they seldom convey a "sense of place" the way a good animalscape (or in this case an "eaglescape") does.

So is THIS my signature shot for the 2019 Pacific Rim Explorer photo tour? It just might be - it's certainly one of my leading contenders. But I have a few other contenders (including some shots of cormorants in the breaking surf) that I'm still ruminating over (and a whole lot of images from the trip still to scrutinize). Only time will tell...

Here's a larger (2400 pixel) version of this iconic(ish?) eaglescape:

Classically Coastal: Download 2400 pixel image (JPEG: 1.8 MB)


1. This image was captured during our "Pacific Rim Explorer" photo tour in April of 2019. Each year I offer photo tours into several different parts of the Great Bear Rainforest as well trips to photograph marine mammals and oceanscapes in locations on Vancouver Island. And, in selected years, I also offer photo tours to locations to capture other highly sought-after subjects, such as Dall Sheep, Bald Eagles, and more. Details about these trips can be found on the Photo Tours page of this website.

2. This image - in all resolutions - is protected by copyright. I'm fine with personal uses of them (including use as desktop backgrounds or screensavers on your own computer), but unauthorized commercial use of the image is prohibited by law. Thanks in advance for respecting my copyright!

3. Like all wildlife photographs on this website, this image was captured following the strict ethical guidelines described in The Wildlife FIRST! Principles of Photographer Conduct. I encourage all wildlife photographers to always put the welfare of their subjects above the value of their photographs.

Behind the Camera

Classically Coastal. Barkley Sound, SW coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. 8 April 2019.

Digital Capture; Compressed RAW (NEF) 14-bit format; ISO 2000.

Nikon D5 paired with Nikkor 180-400mm f4E zoom at 400mm with built-in TC engaged (total focal length of 560mm). Hand-held. VR on and in Sport mode. 9-point Dynamic Area AF mode.

1/800s @ f5.6; no compensation from "recommended" matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

Classically Coastal. Barkley Sound, SW coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. 8 April 2019.

RAW Conversion to 16-bit TIFF, including all global and selective adjustments, using Phase One's Capture One Pro 12. Global adjustments to this shot included modifications to noise reduction, clarity and highlight reduction. Selective local adjustments performed using Capture One Pro's layers and masking tools. In this case adjustments were made on 6 separate layers and included local/selective editing of (or adjustment of) shadows, exposure, clarity, and noise reduction.

Photoshop adjustments were limited to image re-sizing, conversion of Prophoto RGB colour gamut (to sRGB), final sharpening for online display, and insertion of watermark.


Classically Coastal. Barkley Sound, SW coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. 8 April 2019.

Species Status in Canada*: This species is not designated as at risk. The Bald Eagle was listed as "Endangered" in the contiguous US states from 1967 to 1995. In 1995 it was downlisted to "Threatened". On June 28, 2007 Bald Eagles were removed from the list of endangered and threatened species - a true American conservation success story.

The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a very large bird of prey with broad wings. Adults possess characteristic white ("bald") heads. It takes Bald Eagles a full five years to attain their characteristic adult plumage (including their nearly pure white head and tail). In the years prior to the development of their adult plumage they are easy to confuse with Golden Eagles. Being very broad-winged Bald Eagles are able to use an energy-efficient flapping-soaring style of flight. While many people like to think of the Bald Eagle as a fierce hunter, in reality they hunt only as a last resort. More commonly they scavenge for their prey. Additionally, they often klepto-parasitize other weaker species such as Osprey, commonly stealing the other species hard-earned prey items. The Bald Eagle is, of course, the national emblem of the United States (Benjamin Franklin argued against this - his preference was for the Wild Turkey).

*as determined by COSEWIC: The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada