Adventure: Cycle of Life

Life can be a cruel mistress. And it can end abruptly. As you know, I’ve been investing time in learning about birds, which until recently filled yet a tiny portion of a long, long list of topics I knew nothing about. Sure, they are above us. They occasionally get in front of my car and end with a “thud,” and I do eat them from time to time. (Remind me to tell you about the buzzard that broke out the grill of my Landcruiser.)

Now when I walk, hike or trail run I’m armed. Not with a .45 or .243 or .223 but instead with camera. Although all these things probably weigh about the same. I find myself scoping treetops, talking to myself about flight patterns and where I would live were I winged creature. I also carry my binoculars.

When I was a kid in Wyoming, a friend of the family nicknamed me “Hawkeye” based on my ability to spot game. What I look for are breaks in patterns. We can thank John Nash for illuminating us lesser educated about such patterns. Once you know what to look for, as the saying goes, it gets easier.

Yesterday, on a hike, I quickly glanced to my right, or north, and noticed a break in the pattern of green on brown on green. Not to mention a break in the pattern of piñon/juniper. Bingo. Dead raven. At least I think it’s a raven. And a HUGE one at that. Hanging dead upside down under a nest. My guess, the victim of hawk on raven violence. Why do I think this? Because a few days prior, as I mentioned here, I noticed a battle between three ravens and a red-tail hawk.

I love this picture. I really do. I’m not saying it’s a great image but I love it and think it is one of the best images I’ve made over the past year. It required almost no vision or photographic skill. Solely about content. But I’m good with that.

It currently holds cover position in the bird book I’m creating as we speak. Yes, there is always a book. This one will be very different from other bird books you might have seen. But I’m a long, long way from completion.

10 Comments on “Adventure: Cycle of Life”

  1. Intrigued to see the book when done. I really like that picture.

    Speaking of ravens, I’m sure you have seen it, but worth mentioning to those who haven’t: Masahisa Fukase’s seminal work “solitude of ravens” is one of the most powerful, inspirational and personal pieces of art I have ever seen in any medium.

  2. Great photograph Mr. Milnor, I really like the contrast of it.
    Look forward to see your bird book.
    Stay safe!

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