Each month, Bluedot Living will feature a photo essay by Yasmin Namini, a former Chief Consumer Officer at the New York Times, who is now traveling the world taking photographs. At Bluedot, we believe that celebrating the Earth’s most enchanting creatures, cultures, and landscapes will inspire us to help preserve them.
Nestled amidst the pristine wilderness of Stuart Island off the west coast of British Columbia, Canada, Nanook Lodge serves as a haven for anglers, nature enthusiasts, and photographers alike. Known for its idyllic setting, Nanook Lodge has one of the largest convocations of Bald Eagles anywhere in the world.
What makes this secluded haven truly extraordinary is its unique environment, including the mighty Arran Rapids. With tides reaching up to fourteen feet and frenetic currents, unsuspecting fish swimming deep below the surface get caught in the rapids. They rise to the surface so quickly they develop barotrauma, otherwise known as “the bends.” Their swim bladders dramatically expand, causing the fish to float on the water’s surface. The result? A twice-daily airborne spectacle as hundreds of Bald Eagles descend in a feeding frenzy.
In early July, I had the privilege of witnessing this awe-inspiring natural event and captured some of my most memorable images of Bald Eagles. Below is a selection of my favorite images.
Majestic Sovereigns of the Sky
Symbolizing freedom since 1782, the Bald Eagle is more than an American emblem. With wingspans exceeding six feet, hooked beaks, razor-sharp talons, and keen eyesight, these raptors are the epitome of avian majesty.
Equipment, settings: Canon EOS R5; multiple shutter speeds, f-stops, and ISO settings
The Feast Begins
As the tides surge, eagles converge from all directions for a banquet of stunned hake. Though still alive, the fish are paralyzed by barotrauma and become easy pickings for these apex predators.
Equipment, settings: Canon EOS R5; 1/4,000 sec; f/6.3; ISO 1,250
Moment of Intent
More opportunist than pure hunter, an adult Bald Eagle fixes its gaze on a disabled hake floating on the surface. With wings raised, tail back, and talons unfurled, it readies itself for a swift, decisive grab.
Equipment, settings: Canon EOS R5; 1/4,000 sec; f/6.3; ISO 1,600
A sub-adult eagle seizes its quarry, flying off with incredible speed to consume its catch.
Equipment, settings: Canon EOS R5; 1/4,000 sec; f/7.1; ISO 1,250
The competition for food is cut-throat, not just for the paralyzed fish but also for catches already secured by others. Witnessing a Bald Eagle challenge another for its hard-won prey is nothing short of breathtaking.
Equipment, settings: Canon EOS R5; 1/4,000 sec; f/7.1; ISO 800
Due to the fierce rivalry for sustenance, many eagles opt to eat as they fly. This agile sub-adult displays a remarkable feat of aerodynamics as it maneuvers its catch for an in-flight feast.
Equipment, settings: Canon EOS R5; 1/4,000 sec; f/6.3; ISO 1,000
As the day concludes, the soft glow of Golden Hour light illuminates a juvenile Bald Eagle, making its feathers gleam as it continues its quest for one more meal. My time at Nanook Lodge provided an unforgettable glimpse into the lives of these awe-inspiring raptors.
Equipment, settings: Canon EOS R5; 1/3,200 sec; f/7.1; ISO 1,600
All photographs copyright Yasmin Namini.