Backlit Eagle

A big, black ball plunges from the sun.
Wedge-tailed Eagle in a stoop.
(Middle Ridge, Toowoomba, August, 2011)

I was trying to concentrate on photographing an Eastern Spinebill in a friend's front yard in Middle Ridge, Toowoomba when I was rudely distracted by the serious panic calls of Galahs, Australian Magpies and Crows. Birds were flying everywhere and I thought something must have caused the panic and I turned around and scanned the skies. At first I couldn't see anything but then a big, black ball appeared plunging from out of the midday sun just to the north. I managed to just get one shot off before it disappeared behind some trees lining the neighbour's property across the road. After a few moments the eagle reappeared swooping towards me over the trees and veered left in front of a large pine hedge chased by magpies and crows. It all happened in seconds. It appeared to come out empty handed. 

I concentrated on keeping it in focus and had no time to consider the camera settings. I had the camera set to shutter priority at 1/1000 and strangely the camera automatically went to f32 when the eagle flew in front of the hedge. The raw files just came out black and I could only extract the following using imaging software...