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To collect a Legacy Reserve image, contact Customer Support at
800-228-9686 or contact a Mangelsen – Images of Nature Gallery
ABOUT THE IMAGE:
Memorable photography, the kind that stays with us and stands the test of time, is often a combination of talent and serendipity. Or, as in Thomas D. Mangelsen’s image Out of Darkness - Eagle
, it might involve instinctively tapping into the power of an archetype—in this case, the nation’s undying compassion for its wounded warriors typified, as metaphor here, in the struggle of a wildlife icon.
Mightiest of the continent’s native raptors, the bald eagle, of course, is America’s venerated wildlife symbol. In this dramatic aerial display over McDonald Creek in Montana, a mature female bald eagle, with wings locked, glides out of its dark roost into the first rays of dawn to pluck a landlocked kokanee salmon from the water’s surface. But there is more to the story. Somehow, the avian had lost a talon, likely to a muskrat trap, which could easily have spelled its doom. Mangelsen observed the injured female for days, admiring her perseverance and will to live. Waiting to capture her in all her glory, he succeeded with this photograph that was one of his most sought-after ever, popular especially among the veterans of military families.
On the morning this picture was taken the bird plunged like a fighter jet emerging from its shadowed roost into the auspicious hope of sunlight. Her frame being pulled into the frigid current as she tried to hoist the heavy payload, she struggled, eventually lifting off again and her wet head feathers carrying a frosting of ice. To all who witnessed the bird’s indomitable spirit, as she clutched the salmon in her lone talon, it was—and remains— unforgettable.
"When she returned to fish it was efficient and quick; she flew downriver really love, grabbed the first salmon she had a change for, and went back to her perch. I framed my composition where there was a shaft of sunlight coming through the surrounding ridges and shining on the river."