In this particular case, it's obviously the two pied crows that make the image so very different from all the others. To get the shot was not easy. It's one thing to capture a landscape image with birds in it, it's another to have those birds in the foreground while shooting with a wide angle lens. How did I do this? Well, not by feeding them.
This was shot many years ago, when Namibia was still undiscovered and I was the only photographer in Deadvlei on every early morning shoot. These crows have been in Deadvlei as long as I can remember, and they are quite inquisitive. On one of the mornings I was setting up my camera when I heard some bird activity just behind me. When I turned around, I saw one of the crows picking the water bottle that was standing next to my camera bag. It's objective was to make it topple over, which it eventually did. The crow then quickly moved towards the cap, as if it was ready to drink straight from the bottle. But the bottle was closed, so no water came out.
This event made me realize two things: 1) these crows are thirsty, and 2) I can use this information for my benefit. I then slowly grabbed my water bottle, upon which the one crow flew off and landed a short distance away from me, to join the other. I made sure that the crows were watching me when I opened the bottle, first drank from it myself, and then poured some water into the cap. Again very slowly I put the cap a few meters away from me on the ground.
It took a while for the crows to come down to investigate what I just did, but it was clear that they knew there was a drink waiting for them. After they had taken their first sip, I moved the cap in front of my lens, just outside the frame. I had already attached a cable release to create as much distance between me and the camera, and then it was just a matter of waiting motionless.
The end result may not be the most spectacular image I have ever created from this location, but it's a special one for me because it is such a strong reminder of how analyzing the location combined with out of the box thinking can lead to unique results.
If you would like to join me on our next Namibia Untamed workshop and learn more about landscape & night photography and composition, please check out my website for more information:
Hope to see you there!
©2013 Marsel van Oosten, All Rights Reserved. This image is not available for use on websites, blogs or other media without the explicit written permission of the photographer.