Another Dose of the Ravens at Yellowstone

You are in luck if you liked the previous set of images on the Ravens we saw in Yellowstone National Park (link here).  Yes, it’s another dose of those dark winged demons and to be honest, the trusty companion of the ONLY ‘clown’ related character I can actually tolerate… Eric Draven.    For starters, I tried recreate one of my favorite pictures from the last time we were at Yellowstone.

It do not think it came out as dramatic as the other one (which is now hanging in our living room), but definitely not the worst shot I’ve ever taken.  A little brighter background would probably have made it pop a little more but he was having none of my “please move over here” requests.

My close up shots received a few comments on the last post so figured a few more wouldn’t hurt.  This one is a little more stoic but shooting against the bright blue sky wreaked havoc on the exposure.  I backed it down a tad, but lost some of the eye detail in the resulting shadows.  For some reason it gives me the feeling that a large tear will emerge from its eye followed by some public service announcement to not pollute.

The following was a once in a lifetime shot of a UFO hovering over Ol’ Faithful in some kind of super secret refueling process.  Well, that was what it was until this damn raven photobombed my shot… and thanks to this inconsiderate birdbrain.. NOBODY believes me.

Hit the jump to see the rest of the Raven shots!

Trying to compensate for the bright sky, the next two shots were taken at a different angle giving a much more pleasing composition.  They even have the glint of sunlight on their eye.

Now time for audience participation.  Between the shot above and the shot below, which treatment do you prefer?  The previous shot was done a little darker to give a more sinister feel at the cost of some detail.  Contrast that with the shot below that was set at a higher exposure which reveals a little more detail in the feather patterns at the cost of a more cheerful coloring.  I have been flip flopping on this, but as of now leaning to the latter just because I like the eye detail better.

Now for the mischievous side of these creatures.  We (David, Giselle, Linda and myself) had pulled off at the Fairy Falls trail head in order to head out to a secret location for photographing the Grand Prismatic (that David and Giselle were kind enough to share with us – foreshadowing.. pictures to come).  Upon exiting the car we noticed this Raven sitting on the top of a white van a couple of spots down.  The “how cute” comments quickly turned to “what the hell” exclamations when the Raven decided to start pecking at the white paint.

Having never seen that, The Beast was immediately pressed into service.  How about those daggers for claws?  Luckily for the car owner, this activity did not last that long… but as it turns out, there was more devious activity on the way.  Having bored of scratching its name in the van, it took the opportunity to hop down to the bike attached to the back.  This is a shot just before it decided to peck a hole in the top of the seat.  The Raven seems to be daring me to do something about it.  “CAW CAWW I’m gAAWWnna   clAAAWW yAWWWr AAWyes AWWT if yAWW tAAWWL AWWneeone”

If you are wondering if we did anything to stop this behavior, please refer back to the picture of the talons a couple of shots back and make your own assumptions.  Eventually, it tired of shredding the seat and decided to show off why this species has grown so large.

The Raven proceeded to hop over to each of the accessory bags on the bikes, find the bag’s zipper, pull it open and check inside for food.  Think about this the next time you watch your cat try to catch the laser spot our your dog tires himself out chasing his tail.

There is a dark side to this behavior that, if we are lucky, might just keep them from taking over the world.  Apparently, they are a little too fond of our Cheetos.  Take, for example, the specimen below.

That Raven crash landed into the parking lot outside the Lower Yellowstone Falls observation area.   An Aero Engineer I am not, but this has to be topping out the lift to weight ratio required for flight.  Pretty much looks like a Brunswick with a beak…. translated… BLOG MATERIAL.  Linda finally gave in to my nagging and pulled the camera out.  My curiosity eventually got the better of me and the next 10 minutes consisted of trying to see if the bird could take flight without running halfway down the parking lot.

For the record, I could never get it to take flight.  It just kept waddling away from me.  Until they figure out how to use our treadmills or worse find out about P90X, I think we are safe…. I think!

That’s all on the Ravens folks.  I hope you enjoyed

2 thoughts on “Another Dose of the Ravens at Yellowstone”

  1. I _really_ like the steely gray raven picture at the top of the post. I don’t recall the related picture you refer to, but you imply it has higher contrast while I think the flat range of this picture is striking because you know it’s a very black bird. A little scary, really, particularly from that angle in which you would have to be laying on the ground.

    I think I would prefer something between your treatment of the two close-ups–the first is too black, but the second makes the bird look old.

    Anyway, a nice set of photos! The one that’s pecking the roof looks prehistoric. Really weird how smart and annoying these birds are.



  2. Hey thanks! I forgot to link the other B&W Raven shot – it can be found in this set: . I can’t remember exactly how I got that shot but I do remember trying to get low on it – I read a nature photography book urging people to shot more from the ground level and I have been trying to apply a little of that with my wildlife photography as well – It puts the viewer in a slightly more dangerous perspective which gives it more appeal.

    I might try retreating that shot – I agree the second one is a little too bright so I’ll probably start by trying to tone that one down a bit and hopefully keep as much detail as I can.

    I’m telling you, these birds are going to eventually make servants of us – I think we better start training owls to be our sentries!! you have been warned

    thanks for taking the time to comment – you have have been very active on the replies lately and that is much appreciated!


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