Friday, August 16 — Conowingo Dam

by Cam Miller. 0 Comments

(Click any photo to enlarge.)

Please join me on the last day, September 2, for a celebration photo walk!  Registration details are here.

The Power Plant
Fishermen at the Dam

I have a lot to learn about eagle photography.  I made a promise to myself to try to learn more of it in November, which is prime eagle photo time at Conowingo Dam in northeastern Maryland.

On my way home from Pennsylvania, I stopped at the dam, which carries Route 1 over the Susquehanna River.  There is a park on the western side of the river, called Fisherman’s Park, where fishermen, birdwatchers, and nature lovers gather regularly to enjoy the wildlife that is drawn to the dam and its water.

Catch and Release

I parked at the electric plant, operated by the Susquehanna Electric Company, which is part of the Exelon Power Corporation.  The water was not flowing out of the dam when I arrived, which will cause the water to roil and boil at the base of the dam.  It’s that roiling action that stirs up the fish, which draws the birds, and makes for a lot of good birdwatching.  However, there are always fish at the base of the dam, so it is easy to spot seagulls, bald eagles, cormorants, and great blue heron eyeing the waters for their next meal.

Warnings to Boaters

I put my usual little Nikon around my neck, and then I decided to also haul along my DSLR with my big 500 mm lens attached.  My thought was if I walked with just my little camera, I would miss the eagle shot of a lifetime.  I also thought that if I lugged the big guns along, no eagles would appear.  I decided to err on the side of caution.

I walked along Fisherman’s Park, which is a grassy strip that parallels the parking lot and the river, then onto the gravel track that is closed to vehicular traffic.  Not much was happening along the gravel path, but it was a little shadier there.

The Best of the Bunch
Zebra Swallowtail
After about a quarter of a mile along that path, I returned to Fisherman’s Park, where I spotted Dave Lychenheim, a photographer who visits the dam several times a week.  He manages the Facebook Page called Conowingo Bald Eagles.  He told me that my photo friend John was also there, so we chatted a while at the fence.  I spotted some great blue herons on the rocks about 600 feet away, when suddenly an eagle began flying toward us.  I had difficulty keeping him in view, getting focus, and just as he flew overhead, I got a bunch of out of focus shots.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to flying bird photography.  I’m going to work on that this fall and winter.  But for today, it was nice to enjoy a beautiful day walking along the river, hoping to capture a great eagle shot.
Maybe next time.


Click on any photo to enlarge it.
Forward me by email any receipt for an online donation made to the Red Cross for
disaster relief, and I will send you a 5×7 print of your choice from
any of my daily photo walks or from my website.  Offer good until
September 2, 2013.

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Follow me on Twitter: @camscamerashots


Cam’s rules for the Daily Photo Walk:

  1. walk every day
  2. the walk must be in addition to any other planned activity for the day
  3. post a photo every day
  4. use whatever camera is easy and convenient for walking comfortably;
    always have a backup camera at the ready in case of mishaps (I use the
    Nikon Coolpix P7700)
  5. no weather excuses
  6. walk only where it is safe to do so

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