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Column: Making the shot count

Corner Brook photographer Jennifer Wilcox captured this interesting interaction between a crow and a bald eagle earlier this week by the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper mill. Would you have crossed out the crow for good luck?
Corner Brook photographer Jennifer Wilcox captured this interesting interaction between a crow and a bald eagle earlier this week by the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper mill. Would you have crossed out the crow for good luck? - Submitted

The bald eagle sits perched on the branch of a tree in the Corner Brook area.

The bird of prey’s gaze is fixed directly on the camera lens of photographer Jennifer Wilcox.

It doesn’t appear to be overly worried whether Wilcox is capturing its good or bad side. It doesn’t seem anxious or offer much beyond a care to its safety either.

The crow over its left shoulder — do birds have shoulders? —  seems to be more occupied with the snap of the shutter.

Its wings are extended away from its body and its beak is open.

The black bird is hanging out waiting to pick up the table scraps from whatever the eagle plans to eviscerate, but it’s also protesting to having its picture taken.

Just this animal makes the entire picture, to be honest.

Eagles looking stoically is nothing new. When perched they appear as kings overseeing the lands they rule.

There is no predator above them or below that they should fear.

In my experiences, it’s rare to see an eagle perched with another bird by its side except when they’re feeding.

So to see a crow so close and so enamoured with the picture makes it stick out.

“I caught (the eagle) by the mill,” said Wilcox. “He lingers there sometimes but not all the time. A scatter time you might catch him … at the dump and sometimes he is by Atlantic Ready Mix.”

The whole exchange involved backing her truck into the right spot, swapping out the lens on her camera for a zoom and carefully manoeuvering herself as to not disturb the scene in front of her.

Since leaving Roddickton on the Northern Peninsula five years ago, the 44-year-old Wilcox has been slinging a Nikon 750 — although there are times she wishes she had a Canon — camera over her shoulder and taking pics of whatever she can find.

She started taking lessons with renowned local photog, Scott Grant, and has been progressing ever since.

Wilcox had no idea she would become so attached to it.

“It is a passion that I’ve come across,” she said. “It is a passion that I have that is like no other.”

Her social media feed is littered with animals and scenic shots, which have been well received by friends.

When she returns home to Roddickton, Wilcox will set her sights on seals and some foxes that are in town.

I stumbled into photography the same way. I had no desire to hold a camera before I went to journalism school.

Even then, it was going to be something that I had to do, and hopefully avoid, as a part of any prospective journalism job I could get.

Then, I started enjoying things when I got out in the field. I got decent at adjusting my settings, finding some interesting angles and generally not sucking at taking a picture.

I even won a best picture award once and have been nominated for another (yes, that is a shameless plug).

You won’t see a lot of what I shoot in the paper. I generally heave it up on Facebook, Twitter and the 'Gram (that’s how the cool kids say Instagram) and hope for the best.

I haven’t captured anything as fun as Wilcox’s eagle-crow combination, but it’ll come I’m sure.

I’m not quite great at things yet, but there’s hope in what I’m doing.

Or, so I’m told.

Nicholas Mercer is the online editor with The Western Star. He lives in Corner Brook and can be reached at nicholas.mercer@thewesternstar.com

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