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Larry Turner’s tips for photographing eagles, waterfowl, and other winter birds

Photo of Larry Turner Bald Eagle

Photo of Larry Turner Ring-necked Pheasant

Photo by Larry Turner Sandhill Cranes

Labeling with Larry Turner is always educational.

He’s an incredibly fast downhill skier, a relentless hiker, a suave rider in the saddle, and a versatile outdoor enthusiast. As a professional photographer, Turner combines his outings with his skills as a keen observer of sights and sounds. Wherever he goes and whatever he does, he carries a camera or two, always alert and ready to capture footage of where he is or whatever he sees.

This time of year, he carries his bag of Santa Claus-sized cameras, lenses and accessories on deliberate wanderings on farms and ranches or in regional wildlife refuges. Its mission is simple: to hunt down places to photograph all varieties of songbirds, waterfowl and predators – bald and king eagles, great blue herons, snow egrets, scrub jays, hairy woodpeckers, mallards, hawks. tough paws, great gray owls, Canada geese – anything he can spy on.

Turner always strives to capture what he calls “the ultimate photo.”

“You have to be discreet. You have to have patience, ”said Turner, a 74-year-old Clever. He takes pictures near his home and around the world. His photos have been published in dozens of newspapers, magazines, books and photographic essays for Full of adventure, a website he co-owns.

While Lower Klamath and Tulelake National Wildlife Refugees are some of his favorite spots for winter photography, Turner also looks for waterfowl in other often overlooked places, including wherever water flows.

“I particularly like the canals connected to the leasehold (refuge) lands. At this time of year I meet great blue herons, egrets. Their key element is water. You have to have water, ”he says of finding places to photograph bird life. “Farms and ranches provide some of the best habitats. Of course, with the water cut off, it’s a different formula.

He is concerned about water policies and their impacts on a wide range of people in the Klamath Basin who depend on the water used by irrigators, for endangered fish like suckers and salmon, and l habitat for waterfowl and migratory and resident predators.

“This year is the fewest number of birds I have ever seen in my life at Lower Klamath and Tulelake National Wildlife Refugees, and the fault lies directly with federal authorities, as well as Klamath tribes, who are believed to manage this treasure, the heart of the Pacific Flyway.

Turner believes his concerns and others are “directly related to the water cut off earlier this year to the refuge system” as well as policies for managing a single species (suckerfish) and maintaining water levels. ‘water raised in Klamath Lake “to the brutal detriment of all other species. It is abhorrent what is happening right now. And if the water continues to be held back, this crown jewel will become a rusty and dead jewel . The main body of ancient Tulelake is dry, perhaps the first time in millions of years. The powers that be should have restless nights until this tragedy is corrected. “

Turner is obviously concerned. This is why he uses his photography to express the beauty and uniqueness of a region that includes refuges in southern Oregon and northern California as well as private lands near and further. He is also happy to share his advice and expertise with others, novice and advanced photographers, to help them capture and appreciate the landscape and its people.

“Sunrise and sunset are good times to take spectacular photos,” he advises. At Lower Klamath Hut, Turner enjoys “the joy of the morning light right on Mount Shasta”, as well as the often rapidly changing cloud formations, sometimes using them as a backdrop for photos of waterfowl taking flight. It takes multi-frames per second because, “One of the key things is speed. They move so fast, their wings beat so fast. I am ready for the opportunity.

He can advise you on technique, lenses and other equipment. He readily advises on when and where the best opportunities are to continue the never-ending quest for the “ultimate photo”.

But more than anything, he encourages people to get outside to see and experience the abundance of nature in winter, with or without a camera.

As for his own photographs, Turner says, “I prefer to let the images tell the story.

Contact freelance writer Lee Juillerat at [email protected] or 541-880-4139.

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