Raven on Fence Post. Point Reyes National Seashore, California. February 9, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
A raven perches on a fence post above cattle ranch pasture, Point Reyes National Seashore
I had not gone to Point Reyes to photograph ravens. In fact, the thought of photographing these birds, which are not exactly high on my list of birds I love to photograph, had not even crossed my mind. I had a half day to do some shooting, so got up three hours before dawn and drove north through San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge, into Marin County and then over to the coast, hoping to make it all the way out to the tip of Point Reyes to photograph Drakes Bay at sunrise. I didn’t make it quite in time, and instead ended up photographing Tomales Bay as the sun came up. After that I headed out on the road toward the point, but on a whim decided to finally drive up the Mount Vision Road, which I have always passed by on my way to other places. This was in interesting diversion, but after a while I remembered that a group of folks from the Bay Area was going to meet up to photograph the Point Reyes tule elk at around 9:00 a.m.
I figured I might try to join them, even though I haven’t really had that much luck photographing the elk in the area at the north end of the park where they are most easily found. (My best “elk experience” in the park was in a different area where I didn’t even expect to see them.) So I drove back a bit and then out on the road toward where the elk are found – in the area beyond Abbott Lagoon and near Pierce Ranch and McClure Beach. As I started out that road I saw a lot of birds of various sorts, so I stopped and grabbed my camera with the big lens from the trunk and put it on the seat next to me. (Smarter photographers than I probably normally keep such a setup handy while driving!) Sure enough, before long I started passing lots of birds along the road including this cooperative raven, who despite looking a bit nervous when I stopped close enough to make a photograph, stuck around long enough for me to get one shot… before other cars drove up and passed me and scared the bird away.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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