There’s something magically transformative about snow. I’ve amassed a large collection of vintage snow globes, and even made some of my own featuring quirky local landmarks. In summary, I’m a bit of a sucker for snow.
We had what looks to be this winter’s only snowfall here in Vancouver in mid-February. I was excited to write about it then, but since Texas and other US states were undergoing very real suffering from unseasonably cold weather, snow and ice at that point, it didn’t seem tactful to be waxing lyrical about it. I’m feeling that it might be OK to indulge now …
We get very few days of snow in a typical Vancouver winter, so when the flakes start to fall I’m out of the house with my camera as much as possible. On top of the beguiling alliteration, the combination of “crow” and “snow” is pure enchantment.
Here is a crow with snow, folk music and starling accompaniment …
From a technical point of view, snow is both blessing and curse for crow photography. The camera wants to focus on each falling snowflake rather than the bird, so that’s a challenge. The contrast of the black feathers and the all white landscape also needs considerable over-exposure to reveal the detail in the crows.
But the light! The light is magic — beautifully soft, no harsh highlights, bouncing back into those dark feathers and bringing out the shades of mauve and indigo, pearl and navy. It’s as if the whole world is a light box designed especially for photographing crows. Woohoo!!!
And you just never know what might happen. I accidentally found the snow version of a four leafed clover when photographing Mavis in the back garden this year.
For just one microsecond a snowflake kept its perfect crystalline form on her face. And I got a photo of it!!
Particularly amazing to see this in Vancouver, where the temperature is usually too warm for snow crystals to remain intact long enough to be visible. It’s the little things that make a photographer’s day!
Another fun thing about a snow day is seeing how the crows adapt to it.
The Walkers not only dealt with the weather conditions, they also gave me instructions on how to do so.
Instead of walking along with me to the bump at the bottom of the tree where I customarily leave a few peanuts, as he normally does, Mr. Walker flew over my shoulder and landed on a higher, slightly less snow covered burl on the tree as if to say, “this will be a better spot to leave them today.”
So I did as instructed and everyone was pleased.
It was young Chip’s first snowfall.
A puzzling development, but she shook it off with aplomb.
Now the flowers are coming up, birds are collecting nesting materials and spring is very much in the air, but I had fun looking back at our brief yet magical period of Crows in a Winter Wonderland. Hope you did too.
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