Monday, January 11, 2010

Macro Monday – American Crow

DSC04143 American Crow feathers square
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

On our way out of Yosemite National Park, my husband and I pulled over at a popular vista point. Taking photos here is like child’s play. There is beauty in every direction, all perfectly composed by nature. I point and shoot in one direction and I got this:

DSC04138 Yosemite Valley - El Capitan and Merced River

I shift a little to the right and I got this:

DSC04129 Yosemite - Merced River

The magnificence got overwhelming at times and I wondered whether the photos would convey the grandness of the scenery. At the last vista point we chatted with a man who just took a photo workshop offered by the Ansel Adams Gallery. He said that the teacher told the students that all the big stuff’s been done and that they should focus on the little stuff. When I first heard this, I was resentful because it sounded like the most dispiriting advice I’d ever heard. Should I not take have taken the photos above because it’s already been done? How could I not? It would be like trying to stop gravity. On the other hand, I began to understand the teacher’s point. Nature is beautiful in its vastness, its minuteness, and everything in between. It is easy to be seduced by the grandeur of Yosemite because it is so imposing; it takes resolve to look at things up close here.

So I began to zoom in:

DSC04133 Yosemite pair of crows

Ah, there are two crows in that tree:

DSC04132 Yosemite two crows

My husband decided to nosh on some wheat crackers as he waited for me to finish snapping away. Within seconds, the crows descended from the tree and began hovering around his feet. These crows were not aggressive like the seagulls in Sausalito, but they patiently waited for some morsels to fall their way. This one found a crumb in the snow:

DSC04144 American Crow

He was perched perfectly still as he hoped for another. What a great opportunity for Macro Monday. For other Macro Monday posts, please visit Lisa’s Chaos. It's good to shoot the small stuff.


Marilyn Miller said...

That is a very interesting concept and one I have noticed just recently, but had not clarified in my mind. The pictures I end up loving are the ones very close up. Thanks for sharing both the beautiful scenery and the close up of the crow.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure. I love the close up, but your images of Yosemite left me breathless last week. I guess it depends on what your goal is. If I wanted to look at a stunning picture of Yosemite I'm sure I could find many, but I love the sentiment of a blog that shares a little more of the story, of your story, and adds even more delight to the image. Thank you.
ps. Next time you're out in AZ could you please show me how to use my camera. I know I'm not making good use of it. No, you don't know me from Adam. Just hoping.

Kim, USA said...

I have to hold my breath as I scroll down to see your pictures. For the fact that nothing in these pictures are not altered or manipulated and that is only the result of the natures beauty makes me only say oh and ah. It is my dream to visit Yosemite, when will it be I don't know ^_^. And the story behind makes it more closer and personal thanks for sharing! Happy MOnday!

MacroMonday:Guess what?

Colleen said...

It may have been done, but it hasn't been done by you yet. Every day brings a new sky and new clouds which help to give the same rock formation a new look. I love the fog hovering around the trees and the cloud sitting on El Capitan (?) like a shroud. Now, having said all that, I do love macro shots and seeing the beauty in the details!

Getting off my soap box now...

Unknown said...

Magnificent! A great view and a wonderful new friend. :)

CC said...

Beautiful stuff.
The Crow photos are marvelous.

Anonymous said...

Lovely photos. Love the first one. The crows in our neck of the woods are skittish around people. They are fearless. Interesting to watch a bunch of crows chasing a red tail hawk.

Amanda Moore said...

Your idea of point and shoot is pretty damn amazing!Love the idea of the macro on the crows wing great texture nice soft lighting just perfect!

Gena @ thinking aloud said...

Love your macro shot, but also LOVE your scenery pics - they are so great, the first one with the mist is just awesome!! Great captures!
Gena @ thinking aloud
PS> my posts up too! thx ;-)

CameoRoze (Margaret) said...

The layered feathers shot is just stunning. What a great model you had! But to get those subtle color variations is the work of an artist.

Lovin' Macro Monday,
Cameo @-->-->---

CameoRoze (Margaret) said...

The layered feathers shot is just stunning. What a great model you had! But to get those subtle color variations is the work of an artist.

Lovin' Macro Monday,
Cameo @-->-->---

Ruth said...

I've been dying to come over since your photos loaded at google reader Monday. You definitely conveyed the grandness and majesty, just incredible. The mist adds so much depth and texture.

I wondered how you got those closeups of the crow - amazingly detailed and gorgeous. I've never seen photos look more beautiful. The variations of charcoal and grey, the shapes and patterns of the feathers, how very stunning. And I like that they weren't aggressive too.

It's so nice to hear from you again after your busyness. I'm happy you're back.

Ruth said...

I meant I've never seen feathers more beautiful, but the photos are too. :)

Pretty Zesty said...

unbelievable photos!

ps I tried out that chocolate and just posted about it!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Marilyn,
I think the instructor was referring to Yosemite specifically. Ansel Adams' photos of the large landscapes are so iconic now, it's hard to create new compositions of "the big stuff". I think it was a very useful statement that challenged me to observe the small.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Growfamilygrow,
I like both the big stuff and the smaller, more intimate shots. I'm afraid I'm not much help when it comes to cameras. I never shoot in manual mode; I always rely on auto or programmed for exposures. I happen to have a wonderful, elaborate point-and-shoot camera by Sony that has a nice Zeiss lens with great range.

I see that you live in Tucson. My daughter almost went to college there until she decided at the last minute to go to school in New Orleans. Too bad I'm not going to be frequenting your neck of the woods, otherwise we could meet up for a coffe or tea and then I would know you from Adam.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Manang Kim,
I do fiddle with the photos a bit in Photoshop. Usually I invoke the auto adjustments for levels and sometimes for color. I also often crop a photo. Lately I've become a fan of the square format. Other than that, yes, they are unaltered.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Colleen,
Thank you for stepping up on that soap box :) Those were my sentiments exactly!

Dear lisaschaos,
Thank you! I can't remember what my Mondays used to look like, but I'm sure enjoying Macro Mondays.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear CC,
Thank you! I was amazed when I saw how intricate the feathers were.

Dear awarewriter,
These crows are downright domesticated. A photographer standing next to me told me that this pair lives at this vista point.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear moorbloglife,
Honest, I did just that. I pointed and shot. I did a little framing, but nothing else special. The camera did all the heavy lifting.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Gena,
Thank you very much! I loved your photo of that crooked door knob!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear CameoRoze,
The crow was indeed a great model! I had no idea how much variation there was in the coloring of the feathers.

Dear Ruth,
My elaborate point-and-shoot camera has an amazing zoom that goes to 15x very quickly. The bird was standing still and I quickly zoomed in and snapped the picture. It looks like a macro photo but I was actually about six feet away and standing up when I took this photo. I then immediately the picture of the whole bird to give perspective.

I just reviewed my photos and I now remember why I zoomed in. The first photo I took of the crow when it was on the ground showed only as a black silhouette because the snow around him overshadowed the automatic exposure setting. That's when I decided to zoom in so that the snow wouldn't influence the exposure.

Thank you so much for your kind comments and yes, I'm glad to be back in blogland.

Dear Kris,
Thank you so much for doing a superb job on the New York City stake-out. Everybody pop over to Kris' wonderful blog to read her review of a fantastic chocolate.

Unknown said...

dutchbaby, let me tell you, Ansel Adams would have no problem with you taking some of the same views as he did. And I would bet my bottom dollar that he would not have said to you what that man's instructor said. You just keep right on taking the "big" pictures, because their beauty speaks for itself!

Everything that Ruth said about the crow shots! Never has a crow been better represented in photography! They mate for life, y'know.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Susan,
Gosh thanks, you say the nicest things! As for the crow pictures, no one was more surprised than me to see how they turned out! My camera is a wonder. No, I did not know they mated for life. Just like swans...

Relyn Lawson said...

These are all just stunning. But that first picture? Only you could do that. Only you.

Dutchbaby said...

Honestly, Relyn, this camera is the star of the show.

Victoria said...

Truly magnificently gorgeous photos..the crow is stellar and enchanting! Lovely blog!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Kiki,
Thank you very much! I love your blog too!

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