Late October provided a window of warm weather that gave farmers the opportunity to finish their harvesting. Driving near the Springbank Airport, I saw the dust plume generated by a combine on one field and went to have a look. Often, birds and coyotes can be drawn in looking for any dazed or dead rodents resulting from the harvester passing over their burrows. These ravens were four of a much larger group that were following behind the tractor. I watched these ones as they hopped and flapped around, cawing at one another while searching for food.
This raven and I crossed paths in Cochrane. As I pulled up to a stop sign, she landed on a fence post. I pulled out my camera and she croaked a couple of times while looking this way and that.
She seemed restless from the moment she landed so I was unsurprised when she launched back into the air, rejoining another raven that had been circling the field behind her.
Canon 5DIII + 70-200mm lens at 200mm: 1/6400th of a second at f/4 on ISO 1600
I went out for a long walk in Kananaskis this morning. Along an old road I hadn’t traveled on before, I was kept company by the heavy snow falling and a lone raven that croaked as I was returning to the trailhead. I stopped for a few minutes and heard another raven further down the valley that was talking with “my” raven. This one flew off in that direction and I carried on.
The wonder of ravens
When the light is really soft and even, the patterns and subtle colours in their feathers, the scratches that tell stories in their beaks and their intelligent eyes provide great material to work with. These images are from a little shoot with a curious couple who spend their time at one viewpoint pullout along the Icefields Parkway in the Jasper National Park. On this day, the clouds were hanging low in the valley and heavily diffused the sunlight so that even the darkest shadows were only a muted grey. Perfect conditions to photograph these birds around their hangout. I posted one portrait of these birds a couple of days ago and with a little more time now, I enjoyed putting together a few more images for this entry.
The snow fell intermittently and provided another element to work with. What had already fallen to the ground over the past week created clean backgrounds and when coupled with wide apertures allowed the ravens to stand out with a nice dimensionality.
The camera I photographed with here, the Canon 5D Mark III has a slight bluish colour cast at higher ISO settings. These are easily removed in any photo editing software but I really liked the iridescent quality in the image above.
Drawing closer in, the lines drawn by the feathers around the face and neck create really great patterns that go unseen when ravens are usually seen given the dark colours.
A raven’s portrait
Stopping at a viewpoint along the Icefields Parkway on Sunday to photograph a pair of friendly ravens during the second day of John Marriott’s Jasper Fall Wildlife Workshop. This raven lived up to advance billing and was a pleasure to photograph. This portrait was one of my favourite images from a wonderful wintry day that saw us photographing mountain goats, bighorn sheep rams and bull elks in Jasper National Park.