Careful observers of our digital-manipulation gallery might have noticed that we recently removed the incredible photo by Owen Deutsch that captured, in a remarkable symmetrical composition, a bald eagle in tight pursuit of a great blue heron. I use the word "incredible" here with conscious intent, because the astonishing nature of the shot itself, combined with some difficulty we had in contacting Deutsch to discuss it, led many here at Audubon to question its credibility. We presented it in our gallery of debatable images without saying either way whether it was or was not a manipulated photo--but clearly the context suggested that we were dubious at best. This was entirely unfair to Deutsch, who, when we did finally reach him after the gallery had been posted, had no trouble confirming the authenticity of the image as a single unmanipulated shot taken early one morning when he was standing in a flat-bottomed boat on Fox Lake just north of Chicago, noticed the heron venturing too close to an eagle's nest, and readied himself to capture whatever happened next. (On the RAW file, which as it turns out we had in our possession, there is absolutely no evidence of alteration.) I apologize to Owen Deutsch on behalf of Audubon for casting doubt of any sort on the authenticity of what is truly an awesome, once-in-a-lifetime photograph.
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