Conowing Dam Maryland Photography five eagles flying with one holding a fish and the others chasing the food.

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Conowingo Dam Maryland Photography

Conowingo Dam Maryland Photography Location

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Conowingo Dam Maryland Photography Location

Photography Information:

A 400mm lens at this location will make you the little fish in the big pond. No pun intended. 400mm is sufficient, but the bigger, the better here. You should rent a lens if you do not have the equipment that you need. The Photo Center in Brick, N.J. has reasonable rental prices if your from that area. They will rent you the lens you need along with the tripod that holds the larger lenses.

On a sunny day, you will shoot in shutter priority at 1/1200th of a second.  These eagles are moving!! There are other ways to shoot, but that is the easiest way for the beginner. Use ISO 100 on sunny days with a high shutter speed. On the cloudy days, you can pop your ISO up to 400 or 800 as needed. Never go over 800 ISO to avoid grain. Keep your shutter speed at a minimum of 1/1000th for this location to keep the birds crisp in your images. Just about every picture you see on this page is shot at 1/1000th sec. You can go lower to show some movement in the wings. You shouldn’t go any lower than 1/500th sec.

TIP: You can easily overexpose the white parts of the eagles on the sunny days. We use exposure compensation to go down one stop -1 to keep this from happening.

WHEN TO GO TO CONOWINGO DAM

  • During November through the beginning of January. Mid-November is known to be peak Eagle time.
  • Bring chairs. You will be waiting for the action to happen.
  • Check on the Conowingo Dam Release Schedule – See when the gates open and fish flood. 1-888-457-4076.
  • TIP: Get there around 6:30 a.m. if you want upfront parking on the weekends.  It doesn’t matter which spot you choose; there are pros and cons to each location. We like to be near my truck, especially on the days when it gets frigid. Only Nature knows which section will get the most activity that day. You can look at which area of the dam will open and where the water will come through. That pretty much dictates where the birds will fly. Call the number above to find out.

The Conowingo Dam is one of the largest hydroelectric dams in Conowingo, Maryland.  The eagles flock to the dam every year in the Fall, sometimes reaching as many as 100 plus eagles in one small location. Photographers come from all over during this season to photograph the action of the eagles feeding on the fish that flow through the dam.  As far as we know, it is one of the best eagle photography locations in the lower 48.

Hundreds of eagles are attracted to the location due to many fish that come through the dam when it opens. When the sirens go off advising that the dam will soon open, you often hear the photographers cheering since it is the signal that the action is about to happen.  On many occasions, you will listen to photographers yell things such as “incoming” to let the other photographer know an eagle is about to approach. The action is what we call nature at its best—the eagle’s circle around, looking down at the waters spotting their fish. When an eagle dives, they hang their claws down, swoop down, stretch their claws out and grab a fish.  After this, the action starts. All of the other birds in the area will try to steal the fish from the eagle.  Sometimes you will even see two birds attached to one fish and swing around in a battle for the meal.

When the eagles catch a smaller fish, they will fly and eat the fish, as seen in the image above, with the two eagles eating simultaneously.  Extra Eyes Photo Tours runs a tour here every year before Thanksgiving, prime time for action.  You can see the information here.

There are over a hundred other birds that have been documented to migrate here, but the eagle action is the focal point.

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Conowingo Dam Maryland Photography

Park Information

The Conowingo Dam (also Conowingo Hydroelectric Plant, Conowingo Hydroelectric Station) is a large hydroelectric dam in the lower Susquehanna River near the town of Conowingo, Maryland. Conowingo Road, Conowingo, Maryland.

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Camping

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Restaurants

Chesapeake Bay Gold Club – Scallops to die for, for those of you who do not care about mercury poisoning.  The portion is not huge but unbelievably delicious.

28 Karen Dr
Rising Sun, MD 21911
410-658-4343

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Weather

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