Taking a departure from the usual landscape photography today. Regardless of whether the viewer may consider this a bit too much on the morbid side or not, this is an example of the saying “the best camera is the one you have with you.” It has become a habit to have my dSLR with me in the car at all times. And despite the busy lives many of us have, there are times where you do have to stop and smell the roses (or photograph dead birds).
How I came across this grisly scene is more out of sheer luck than anything else. The usual twice monthly dinner plans with old co-workers was cancelled for this week. I ended up in the next city over to do some purchases and then decided to take a route home that 99.9% of the time I would not have taken. While somewhat lamenting this new route to be a slightly further drive than expected, I was also scanning the scenery around me for possible landscape compositions, when I spied a brilliant yellow color suspended from the barbed wire across the road. As is the case with most of my roadside photography, it took me a few seconds to decide to turn back around and pull off the side of the busy 2-lane road without running myself into the dirt and gravel drainage ditch. These were definitely not circumstances that would normally occur and would lead me to this road on any day. I had to stop and shoot this.
It is a bit unknown how this bird died. Much like trees, plants, and cloud formations, I had not a clue as to its species. A quick internet search of “Northern California birds” landed me on David Leahy’s website and I suspect this might be a Western Meadowlark. I could not tell if the bird had somehow tangled its foot in the cross strands of the wire, struggled and then died or if it just passed away while on the wire and by some coincidence had enough of a grip to continue hanging on. But as you can see, the brilliant yellow color swinging in the wake of passing cars against the brooding sky just might catch your eye while driving past. With all the cars speeding by, their drivers must have wondered what I was intently photographing or if they could see the bird, wonder what type of person would be out there snapping photographs of it. I suppose I’m that person.
Updated 2012 Apr 01: Based on some discussions on here and elsewhere, I wanted to see what other crops could be done on this photograph. The crop with only the sky is a perfect 1:1 box crop while the photograph with minimal grass is slightly beyond 1:1 as the height was elongated just a bit.
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted metering mode, 26mm, ISO 200, 1/320 sec, f/4.5
Barbed Wire Fence, Dead Bird, Suspended. Rancho Cordova, California. March 29, 2012. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.