A bald eagle from Wallace Bay will soon be gracing the cover of a national magazine.
Ian Murray has been photographing in a serious way for about eight or nine years now, since moving to Wallace, and one of his photos will be on the cover of the February/March edition of the National Wildlife Federation.
“I have entered their contests before, and won first prize with my fox photo two years ago,” said Murray. “I entered again this year, and the eagle photo was one of them. The magazine called me out of the blue and said they wanted to use it for the cover.”
Murray said he treats wildlife photography like a job, and he’s out almost daily looking for just the right subject and photo opportunity.
“I will travel a far bit trying to find what I’m looking for. I’ve even photographed hawks and eagles on the Tantramar Marsh, between Amherst and Sackville, New Brunswick,” he said.
“I am usually out several hours at a time. Quite often I’m shooting from the truck.”
Living on the Wallace River gives Murray ample opportunity for some great photos, and his interest shows through what he captures.
“Eagles are my first love, mainly because they’re here. I’m surrounded by them.”
But a nearby family of foxes has also captured a large piece of Murray’s heart, and his followers on social media.
“When they’re in season, I’m out there every day, but they’re not around right now,” he said. “All the most recent pups are grown and have taken off.”
He said at the beginning of the season – spring – will be when one of those babies will return to the den to raise their own family, and Murray will once again be hard at work.
“They know me,” he said, of the foxes. “They all have different personalities. They’re very curious.”
When a new family arrives and Murray’s photography begins again, he stays back from the den, behind grass and weeds.
Over time, however, things change.
“One or two will get to know me and my truck. To get to the den it’s a long driveway, and the ones that know me will often come running up to me. It gives me some good photo opportunities.”
Photographing eagles, however, is a different story.
Murray is often dressed in camouflage clothing and mesh, and takes a chair to the river. He has a piece of camouflage material about 20 feet long that he wraps around himself.
Then I sit and stay very quiet,” he said, adding patience is one of the biggest things he’s learned when photographing wildlife.
Hearing his photo would be used on the cover, Murray said he was “thrilled, but I don’t think I was thrilled enough.”
He laughed, and said he was asked how many copies he’d like to have sent to him.
“I said I wasn’t sure, just a couple.”
He said he was asked if he was sure, and suggested at least six copies.
“It was them that told me how big of a deal this was,” he said.
Murray has taken to his Facebook page to let his followers know about the accomplishment and, like most of his work, the response has been very positive.
To see or purchase some of his work, visit Whirligigs in Wallace, or Home Hardware in Pugwash. Connie’s Financial Services office in Oxford also displays his photographs, and he has a home gallery in his basement open by appointment.
Murray’s not sure when the edition with the eagle will hit the newsstands, but it should be available at larger newsstands throughout Canada and the U.S.