Friday, August 17, 2012

Marvelous Eagle Photos and George Washington on bigotry

Appreciating People

Practice thinking about how much you have gained from your immediate environment. Without other people you would be all alone. What would you be like if you grew up all by yourself in a forest? (Probably not much different from an animal!)

Appreciate that the people in your environment have taught you much knowledge and understanding.

Love Yehuda Lave

August 16th

"To bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance"
On this day in 1790, President George Washington was beginning a goodwill tour of New England. His first stop would be Newport, Rhode Island, where citizens met him with booming cannons and a public dinner where dignitaries gave "thirteen toasts abounding with patriotic sentiment." Moses Seixas, warden of the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, penned a letter welcoming the president to the city. Washington's response, written the next day, has become a famous pronouncement on religious freedom:

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy, a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For, happily, the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
As Claremont professor Harry Jaffa has pointed out, this was the first time in history that any ruler addressed the Jews as equals. President Washington closed his letter with these gentle words, taken from Scripture: "May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way

This event took place on a lake near Seattle Wa.

The Photographer  was walking along the shore of Lake Tapps on Monday, and noticed a big commotion a little more than 1/4-mile away (as measured later by Google Earth).  I saw a Bald Eagle circling and repeatedly diving on what I thought must be a school of fish.  Soon he was joined by another Eagle and they began to fight each other for the prey.  Territorial Eagle fights do happen, but I've never seen one, nor have I seen any good photos...
Naturally, I grabbed my camera.  The action was so furious and far away that it was hard to see if I was getting any good photos.  So I just snapped lots pics and hoped for the best.  I didn't quite realize what I was watching, until I got home and looked at the pics on my computer.  It turned out I had photographed a three-way life & death struggle between two mature Bald Eagles fighting over one very frightened duck!  The Eagles fought each other for several minutes while trying to get that duck!  It was like WWIII in the air!
All these pics were taken hand-held with my Panasonic FZ-28 at 18X zoom which is 486mm.  All pics were taken on Intelligent Automatic which is just point-and-shoot.  I had previously selected okay up to ISO@0 and it was a bright day, which is as good way to force the shutter speed to 1/500 sec. to 1/1000 sec. for all the shots even though the camera performed everything automatically.
Most of the images were cropped to a small fraction of their original size which effectively multiplies that Optical Focal Length of 486mm by the ratio of: original image width ÷ cropped image width.  The action was over 1/4-mile away, and I ended up with effective Focal Lengths of well over 1,000mm for half the pics shown here, so they are not up to my normal standards of image quality.  Nevertheless, they are exciting and tell quite a story...

            The fellow sitting on the tailgate of his pickup truck never realized the show he was missing.
                                                            (620 mm effective Focal Length)


     The little duck watches as the Eagle speeds straight at him at about 40 mph.
                                                           (760 mm effective Focal Length)

With perfect timing, the duck always dove and escaped with as mighty splash!   Then he'd pop to the surface as soon as the Eagle flew past.  This was repeated over and over for several minutes. I worried the poor duck would tire and that would be the end of him.

   A second Eagle joins the attack!   The duck kept diving "just in time", so the Eagles began to dive into the water after him!

 After several minutes the Eagles got frustrated and began to attack each other.   
They soon began to dive vertically, level out, and attack head-on in a good old-fashioned game of high-speed "Chicken".  Sometimes they banked away from each other at the last possible second.  Other times they'd climb vertically and tear into each other while falling back toward the water.  (The duck catches his breath at the right side of this picture.)

A terrible miscalculation!    The luckiest shot of my life catches this 100 mph head-on collision between two Bald Eagles.

One Eagle stayed aloft and flew away, but the other lies motionless in a crumpled heap.
              The lucky duck survived to live another day.

It's sad to watch an Eagle drown.  He wiggled, flapped and struggled mostly underwater. He finally got his head above water and with great difficulty managed to get airborne. To my astonishment, he flew straight toward me, and it was the most wretched and unstable bird flight I've ever seen!

The bedraggled Eagle circled me once - then lit atop a nearby fir tree.  He had a six-foot
wingspread and looked mighty angry. I was concerned that I might be his next target,
but he was so exhausted he just stared at me.  Then I wondered if he would topple to the ground.  As he tried to dry his feathers, it seemed to me that this beleaguered Eagle symbolized America in its current trials.

My half-hour wait was rewarded with this marvelous sight.   He flew away, almost good as new.   May America recover as well with God's Blessings once again.

Visit my Blog:


Visit my Blog: