Archive For The “lens” Category
Early last Sunday morning I heard the thump of a bird hitting the glass door that leads out to my deck. I looked out and saw the bird stagger around the deck then take wing and land on the table on the deck. Birds do hit the door a few times a year and recover. So I went out as originally planned. (This photograph was taken later in the afternoon)
When I got back late in the afternoon…..
So when I returned, a stellar jay fledge was perched on the suet feeder. I stayed well back using my 300mm zoom lens. For almost 20 minutes, the bird never moved. I was wondering it the bird was blind….
Then the fledge flew down to the deck and then hopped–not flying–down the steps. I came out on the deck, still keeping far away from the small bird. It looked at me, so clearly the fledge wasn’t blind, as it looked up.
The fledge then hops into the grass of my backyard. It hops all across the yard to the back fence (not pictured) then suddenly flies over to the fence on the east side of my yard.
There was the fledge’s sibling huddled against the fence.
The two seemed to greet each other.
A while later, one of the fledges, walks toward the north fence of my hard. It looks up.
The young fledge tries to fly, but doesn’t make it. And grabs on to the fence with its feet.
So the pair walk toward the fence.
Again the fledge tries to fly over the fence.
So the pair walk through the bottom of the fence and disappear from my yard.
I was worried that the young birds, apparently still not able to fly that far, would fall victim to the cats that roam the park behind my house and sometimes come into my yard.
Then two days later, on Tuesday, on my morning walk I came across what I am pretty sure is the same pair, about a kilometre from my house, in a gap in a cedar hedge.
Here’s what I believe is the most adventurous of the pair looking out at me from the hedge.
Here’s the second one, a little further back in the hedge.
And the pair.
Haven’t seen them since, although I’ve been looking. I believe their parents are still around my yard, as a small resident family of stellar jays has been for years. So hopefully they’re either back with family or, since that hedge was close to the bush, they’ve found a new home in the forest.
So one of the “rules of photography,” especially nature photography, is you don’t shoot on a clear, bright, blue sky, summer afternoon with the sun high overhead.
So today I broke all those rules and got a shot I’ve been trying to get for some time–the “white raven.”
So what is a “white raven?” One of my long-term projects is to photograph ravens in a “mythological setting.” In Europe (and perhaps elsewhere) there are legends of a white raven. (I am not sure about here on the northwest coast, where the raven is sacred to the First Nations, so far I have not come across any First Nations stories of white ravens. If anyone reading this knows of a First Nation legend of a white raven please comment). For example, in Greek mythology Apollo is said to have turned the raven, which was originally white, to black,
UPDATE: March 2019. Among the art work displayed at the annual Freda Diesing School of Northwest Art exhibit at the Kitimat Museum & Archives this month, was a magnificent painting by a young artist of a raven transforming from white to black. The artist told me she was inspired by a story told to her by Elders.
Although there are rare albino ravens–this site has a photograph of a stuffed albino raven in Port Clements on Haida Gwaii–many scholars who study ravens and crows in nature and mythology believe that the legends of white ravens as messengers of the gods come not from the rare albino raven (which may not survive to adulthood) but when the black feathers of the raven reflect the sun and appear to be white.
I admit that looking for the “white raven” shot wouldn’t be a priority unless you are doing a project on the mythology of ravens. It is also likely that photographers seeing the image would hit the delete button. I hope that this post would discourage deleting “white raven” shots that anyone reading this may capture in the future.
It was that “white raven” effect I was able to capture this afternoon, on a hot, clear, sunny Kitimat afternoon, actually in my front yard in the space of just over one minute, from 3:30:34 pm to 3:31:39 pm, using my carry with me always Sony Alpha 55, Sony 18-200, set at 200, ISO 1600, shutter priority 1/2000.
As the ravens circle and come more under direct sunlight, their backs reflect the light, appearing white.
Messengers of the Gods. In Norse mythology, Odin had two messenger ravens Huginn and Muninn. Again the Eddas I have read don’t mention the colour of Huginn and Muninn, but clearly you can see how the reflected sun makes the raven look white.
As the pair continue to circle, only a small white reflection is seen on the wing of the lower bird.
Here the pair appear in silhouette, dark against the sky.
The compression of distance with the 200mm lens gives the impression the ravens are flying over a mountain peak.
Then the pair are lower, appearing to fly in front of the mountainside.