The excitement & anticipation of our trip to photograph the Golden Eagles of the Swedish Winter was unbearable for all us including our guests! The expectations of photographing the wildlife & especially getting up close & personal with wild Golden Eagles in this beautiful snow-capped Swedish pine forest was going to be epic!
Before we get into the photography part of the trip let’s discuss kit i.e. clothing, camera gear & packing it all up! This is, without doubt, the hardest thing we as travelling photographers face. What lenses do I take? What other kit, tripods, filters etc…? It can be daunting if it’s your first time to a new location.
The hides that we make use of have two holes to shoot from so it made sense to be set up with a short & a long lens. This way, you are ready for both action & close-up work. Beanbags were supplied in the hides, but you can also bring your own ball heads to attach to the mounting points inside the hide. You might also want to pack a small travel tripod just in case there is an opportunity to photograph the Northern Lights.
We were picked up & driven (only around 10 mins) to the location where there was a short walk on a hard surface to the hides. We had to enter the hide before daylight & stay in there until dusk in order to not spook the Eagles. After a quick breakfast, we set up our camera equipment & waited. It wasn’t long before we started to photograph some of the other residents of the forest such as Bullfinch, Woodpeckers, forest birds & red foxes.
As the Golden Eagle took off, we saw him fly to the main feeding area on the hill. Luckily, our other cameras were already set up with longer lenses attached so we were prepared for a landing shot or a take-off shot! Thanks to the sun & the fresh snow on the ground, we were blessed with some amazing light which made for some awesome images!
That evening on the way home from the hide, we noticed a faint green tint in the darkening sky. The Northern Lights! We couldn’t wait to photograph the lights & ate our dinner as fast as we could so that we could head back out again. We only had to go across the street to set up a tripod & shoot a 20-second exposure to see the beauty of the Aurora Borealis. It was just a small glimpse because it was low on the horizon but even so, it was an amazing spectacle.
By the last day, we had already seen a lot of action but as always, we wanted more! We were not disappointed. A Golden Eagle turned up twice on our last day! We photographed this magnificent raptor in flight using the low-level hide holes & these images have turned out to be my personal favourites! We finished the session by photographing some more small birds & then it was time to leave the hide. After a final glorious home-cooked meal, it was time for bed & then a leisurely trip back to the airport the next day for our journey back home.
For me, the Golden Eagles of the Swedish Winter is one of those trips where you have the opportunity to experiment with your camera kit & your own photography skills. You will also come away with some absolutely stunning images of a multitude of wildlife & landscapes.