Do I Hear the Messengers at Dawn?

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Uploaded 19 Jun 2008 — 123 favorites
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© seanie blue
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Favorites 122
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Photo Info
UploadedJune 19, 2008
TakenJune 17, 2008
MakeNikon Corporation
ModelNIKON D300
Exposure1/500 sec at f/5.6
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length200 mm
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No tags yet.

Q: Why are some of the contest photos obviously photoshopped?

A: Do you know?

Photo license: © All rights reserved

To some people, the bald eagle is a symbol of fertility, because it breeds in nests weighing a ton high in the trees and is fierce when fighting to protect its chicks. To some people, this sea bird is a fighter, impossible to tame, two-inch daggers for talons, eyes painted in equal parts patience and jaundiced suspicion; we stick it on coins and parade its image as we get out our guns, but the bald eagle is about to celebrate its first birthday off the endangered lists.

It’s been trapped and shot and poisoned in the name of sport or nuisance, but it has survived, much as we have since we walked out of Africa and won territory from the Neanderthals to build Starbucks and toll booths and libraries and ATMs. The eagle is what we hope we see in our mirrors.

Sometimes I wake up in places I had no idea I was visiting, but something surprises me that I recognize instantly for being expected. It makes perfect sense, for example, to wake up yesterday in the screech of birds squabbling over fish, and to stumble into the Pacific grays where these two bald eagles flash toward me from the ocean.

Some people view the eagle as a sacred messenger, and this is certainly my impression after finding myself without plan or schedule in Sekiu in the Olympic Peninsula.

The night before as I drove into town a huge orange glow in the sky enraptured me until I saw the sign for a prison. Hopes, burnt. I fell asleep happy to be on the water, but bothered by the tunes of a trap. These eagles blazing from dawn’s murk brought confirmation or warning, that my sense of freedom is not what it seems, that the future cannot bear the expense of my discarded plastics and fondness for chocolate and driving fast and cracking the sky with the razors of my flight.

Before I can ask them, “But where should I go?” they are in the trees, rasping their fey screee-aks all morning. The locals see me shoot, and point out better vantages, the best angles, offer tidbits of eagle facts and figures, and one man as he towels himself from his shave outside the home of his Chrysler tells me where to find a huge herd of elk; he’s got mental troubles, he says, disordered attention, has been here camping on the shore all winter, waiting for his son to be let out of the prison in two months, and now I realize as I write that he is another eagle, scrabbling to protect his own, but without talon or keen eye, a lonely loser who remembers at least to swallow his pills in between odd conversations with people like me, passing through, consuming even him for a story like this.

“Where do you go?” It is for the eagles to ask. Not me.

Where? Why I go is up to me, but move, Blue, because the future is a clamp, talons of steel piercing your dreams.

Do I get this message? Or does it get me?

70 responses

  • Paolo Pizzimenti

    Paolo Pizzimenti (Deleted) gave props (19 Jun 2008):

    You've got my vote, nice shot and interesting prose.

  • Frederic Frognier

    Frederic Frognier (Deleted) gave props (19 Jun 2008):

    Superb capture

  • Respect Nature

    Respect Nature gave props (19 Jun 2008):

    Awesome shot seanie!

  • Vicenç !!!

    Vicenç !!! gave props (19 Jun 2008):

    Wow, preciosa!!!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (19 Jun 2008):

    Oh yeah! It rocks!

  • Gail Anderson

    Gail Anderson gave props (19 Jun 2008):

    amazing capture!

  • maria tizon

    maria tizon (Deleted) gave props (19 Jun 2008):

    I believe the message gets us all through your vision. Love this. Amazing as always.

  • Ronnie Ginnever

    Ronnie Ginnever gave props (19 Jun 2008):

    freedom rocks....

  • Laurie Search

    Laurie Search gave props (19 Jun 2008):

    Oooooh, nice!!

  • catharine amato

    catharine amato gave props (19 Jun 2008):

    i love the shapes of the birds

  • Nelson Campbell

    Nelson Campbell (Deleted) gave props (19 Jun 2008):

    maybe both...a beauty.

  • Chris Whitney

    Chris Whitney said (19 Jun 2008):

    As with your images Seanie, I enjoy your revisiting your words and pondering further.

  • Amy Welborn

    Amy Welborn (Deleted) said (19 Jun 2008):

    simply amazing, Seanie

  • Thomas Henry

    Thomas Henry said (20 Jun 2008):

    I guess sometimes we end up in the right place at the right time, whether we mean to, or not....thanks for sharing this amazing image!

  • Rogerio de Freitas

    Rogerio de Freitas said (21 Jun 2008):

    Great image and words Seanie. My vote.

  • adniloj

    adniloj gave props (21 Jun 2008):

    oh yeah, woooo-hooo & a + vote for you dear seanie blue...happy summer

  • Audrey Kanekoa-Madrid

    Audrey Kanekoa-Madrid (Deleted) gave props (21 Jun 2008):


  • Steven Hoenstine

    Steven Hoenstine (Deleted) gave props (21 Jun 2008):

    wow, great moment! amazing!

  • Emma Brahas

    Emma Brahas said (22 Jun 2008):

    I like to hang this one on my wall. My vote!

  • Laura Boston-Thek

    Laura Boston-Thek gave props (23 Jun 2008):

    Thrilling image!! Very compelling as always

  • Joseph Rotindo

    Joseph Rotindo said (24 Jun 2008):

    your stuff always makes me wonder just what the hell us human beings are doing here...and i suppose it is perfectly reasonable that i should be doing that...
    nice work, Sean.

  • ! !! Eton !!!!

    ! !! Eton !!!! gave props (24 Jun 2008):

    Seanie- photography must be in your genetics- you are outstanding at it! This photo has definitely carried that statement on!! What a fantastic photo!!!

  • Karl Nelson

    Karl Nelson said (25 Jun 2008):

    Obvious 'shop job. Corny image and narrative.

  • seanie blue

    seanie blue said (25 Jun 2008):

    Thanks for investing your time in a comment, Karl. This photo was not run through photoshop at all. It was changed to a pseudo-black and white in Lightroom, and cropped. The contrast was altered no more than any competent developer in any photo lab in the country might do, if asked to. The actual content of the shot was not altered at all. As for the corny narrative, you're probably right about that. I would say so myself.

  • David Rocaberti

    David Rocaberti (Deleted) said (25 Jun 2008):

    Cropped or not, pseudo b&w or whatever...I just don't care.
    This picture is so nice.
    BTW, good narrative too

  • Moses Hawk

    Moses Hawk said (25 Jun 2008):

    Don't cave Blue. You're posts are pieces of your your experiences. Jewels that only come from trudging to the end of the road, and then into the beyond. They are gifts to your loyal readers. Not good, not bad. Not to be judged so by others who haven't stumbled past their nose.

  • Joseph Rotindo

    Joseph Rotindo said (25 Jun 2008):

    i don't think people have to worry about Sean any means.
    what people experience is theirs and theirs alone, and if no one else gets it, that's just too damn bad.
    for instance, my opinion is that Sean put a lot of time and effort into this photo, and for someone who is at odds with various aspects of a particular organization, I find it amazing that he even would remain a member of that particular group and even more amazing that he would cultivate a response from that particular group. we have a photo...and a narrative, that is purely open and out there for people to praise and/or ridicule.
    even if you don't like it, you have to respect the man for putting it out there...
    i for one thought it was terrific. and i don't give a good damn what anyone else thought.
    my 2 cents....ahem.
    nice work, Sean (but you didn't need me to tell you that).

  • Jean Pierre Vacherot

    Jean Pierre Vacherot (Deleted) gave props (28 Jun 2008):

    Nice idea and good photo, my vote

  • Daniel Martinez

    Daniel Martinez gave props (2 Jul 2008):

    Hitchcockian!! Outstanding Seanie!!


    FALCON LARA OSCAR said (5 Jul 2008):

    Amazing capture.!

  • Bryan Jozefowicz

    Bryan Jozefowicz gave props (7 Jul 2008):

    Awesome, my vote

  • Chicago Love

    Chicago Love (Deleted) gave props (7 Jul 2008):

    a jpg friend suggested that about my eagle maybe i'll go there. Great shot!!

  • judy fouse

    judy fouse said (7 Jul 2008):

    I appreciate seeing the Pacific again through your eyes. As a Gulf Coast girl, I found the Pacific wonderfully moody and evocative. As for Karl, it is no wonder he has ZERO CONTACTS! You have to pity someone so mean spirited. Our best wishes travel with you on your journeys. Judy ; )

  • Nathan McNamara

    Nathan McNamara gave props (8 Jul 2008):

    You are an amazing story teller, your words penetrate deep in thoughts. Great photo!

  • claudio gobbi

    claudio gobbi gave props (9 Jul 2008):

    my vote,great shot!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sherry Davis Johnson

    Sherry Davis Johnson gave props (9 Jul 2008):

    My vote, a bow and a salute to another eagle, Seanie Blue. Kaaarl...lay off the hater-ade, hun. It rottens your soul.

  • Jit Ray

    Jit Ray said (11 Jul 2008):

    Its always so amazing to go through your pictures... thanks again and again for such inspiring work.

  • Ray Kenn

    Ray Kenn gave props (13 Jul 2008):

    Beautiful catch, you have my vote.

  • Christopher Joslin

    Christopher Joslin gave props (14 Jul 2008):

    One thing that I have learned to do in this community is to enjoy images without judging how they became what they are. This is a wonderful photograph, photoshopped or not. I, for one, am a fan of post editing. Just like many photographers were masters in a darkroom, so to are many with computers and their editing tools. Photoshop is an artwork in itself. All we should really concern ourselves with is do you enjoy the image that is before you. And Seanie, I'll admit, I don't always get what you are saying but sometimes I get it just perfectly and isn't that how life should be? If I agreed with everyone and understood everything life wouldn't be too exciting would it? So this is for everyone: Create the image that you set out to create and say what you want to say. Some will love it and understand and some will hate it and disagree and either way it is a success as long as it is what you intended. Thats my 2 cents for the day. When I look at this image I like it. Does anything else really matter??

  • Karen Zimmerman

    Karen Zimmerman gave props (17 Jul 2008):

    As always, I find I forget to breath in your gallery. My vote.

  • David Eastham

    David Eastham gave props (23 Jul 2008):

    Seanie, you are an amazing man.

  • Photography Seven

    Photography Seven said (24 Jul 2008):

    my vote

  • Kiwi ana

    Kiwi ana (Deleted) gave props (25 Jul 2008):

    To Freedom, to free shores and free air to soar on. To the ability to shreee-aak what want to into the morning air and the ability to find food and lodging in the most natural of places. To the freedom to look out for your family and your own health. That surely is a set of democratic rights in their most ideal. This photo reminds me of it all, as does your woven sculpture of words Seanie Blue - I vote yes!

  • John Keating

    John Keating gave props (26 Jul 2008):

    Seanie, this is an awesome powerful shot! I love your narrative as well.

  • Bill Hathaway

    Bill Hathaway gave props (26 Jul 2008):

    I give thanks that I am alive and free enough to witness such beautiful photography and prose. Nice work Seanie.

  • Michel Vaque

    Michel Vaque gave props (27 Jul 2008):

    yes!! my vote !

  • Amy Evenson

    Amy Evenson gave props (27 Jul 2008):

    Great shot Seanie...well done!

  • Alan Franz

    Alan Franz said (28 Jul 2008):

    Nice work per usual Seanie.

  • Christine Corrigan

    Christine Corrigan gave props (31 Jul 2008):

    Beautiful photo, wonderful thoughts...........

  • Ursula Tillmann

    Ursula Tillmann gave props (31 Jul 2008):

    You've got my vote - outstanding!

  • Artem Nazarov

    Artem Nazarov (Deleted) said (5 Aug 2008):

    This is awesome!!!!!!!!!

  • claudio gobbi

    claudio gobbi gave props (1 Sep 2008):

    great shot!! wooww!!nice work!

  • Yasmina Baggili

    Yasmina Baggili (Deleted) gave props (17 Sep 2008):

    Wonderful capture!

  • Laurent Chantegros

    Laurent Chantegros gave props (30 Oct 2008):

    great shot Seanie

  • Bonnie Blanton

    Bonnie Blanton (Deleted) gave props (3 Nov 2008):


  • Mike Edwards

    Mike Edwards gave props (10 Nov 2008):

    So well done.

  • Elyseo

    Elyseo said (26 Nov 2008):

    bel volo!! libero!!! prendi e lascia andare. carpe diem che sta dentro di noi! namaste!

  • Zeb Andrews

    Zeb Andrews said (1 Dec 2008):

    Wow, wonderful timing. I love the tilt of the lead eagle's head.

  • wisnu broto

    wisnu broto gave props (2 Dec 2008):

    amazing!!!great capture and compo...

  • Melissa Thorburn

    Melissa Thorburn gave props (11 Dec 2008):

    Beautiful, having the rocks on the bottom frame put it into perspective, but I love it even move with them cropped off. But it is still an awesome picture!

  • Leanna Lomanski

    Leanna Lomanski gave props (14 Dec 2008):

    I appreciate the fact that you take the time to share little pieces of your journeys with us here. The work is excellent as always.

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (30 Dec 2009):

    Hell YEAH! Rad!

  • Ronnie Ginnever

    Ronnie Ginnever gave props (30 Dec 2009):

    Another beauty - voted!

  • Alain Daoud

    Alain Daoud gave props (17 Jan 2010):

    yes Voted!!!

  • ! Mario Scattoloni ¡

    ! Mario Scattoloni ¡ gave props (21 Jan 2010):

    Come back 2 Vote. Excellent as always.


    JOE FAILK gave props (28 Jan 2010):

    Yea Rad Vote!

  • Michele Randell

    Michele Randell gave props (30 Jan 2010):

    Back to vote Seanie...

  • Nabeel Alam

    Nabeel Alam gave props (18 Feb 2010):

    Awesome shot!!

  • eithne mythen

    eithne mythen gave props (18 Apr 2010):


  • JamesHarmon McQuilkin

    JamesHarmon McQuilkin   gave props (10 Jun 2010):

    Only if I am willing to listen--and you inspire me to do so

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