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Always Be Prepared - Behind the scenes of a loon fight

Almost every summer we go to a resort for a week to fish, eat s'mores, relax, and most importantly take pictures of loons. (My family would argue with me about the order of importance of those activities.)

When we go out in the boat to go fishing I always bring my camera in case we pass a loon or a Bald Eagle flies overhead. You never know what you might see on a lake in northern Minnesota. One day, as we were going out to fish, we came across a group of three loons. They appeared to be fishing together, dipping their heads in the water. However, they were definitely wary of each other, as they would keep looking up from the water - keeping an eye on what each loon was doing. As we approached them I got ready to take some photos. I tested my exposure since the sky was a bit cloudy and the water was nearly white. I wanted to make sure the photos would be bright enough and not look like silhouettes. I had everything ready to go and started shooting when suddenly, two of the loons erupted in a huge fight! I took many pictures of them biting, jabbing, and splashing each other. I had never seen anything like this in all my experiences of photographing loons, so it was pretty thrilling.

The fact that I had already determined my camera settings and was focused on the loons when the fight broke out is probably the only reason I got any usable photos from the event. They were moving too fast for any of that to happen once it all started. The lesson from that day is when you're entering any environment to take photos...(woods, fields, water, etc.), have your camera settings ready for the light in that place. Then you'll be ready for any action that might happen while you're there!

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