At the beginning of the 20th century, William Finley and Herman Bohlman, utilizing the best camera technology available at the time, produced remarkable black and white photos of the California condor. With their photos, Finley and Bohlman introduced a large audience to these great birds.
Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, Tim Huntington is producing exquisite color photos that bring viewers face-to-face with free-living condors. Huntington’s photos convey important and intimate details of the complex lives of California condors.
This post shows, first, a print by Huntington from my collection and then 6 of his published photos.
What struck me about this 1st photo was how clearly it revealed the shape of the California condors’ incredible wings:
The angle from which the photo was taken relative to the bird’s flight path, combined with the fortuitously-located white patches on the underside of the wings, make plain that condors possess a sophisticated airfoil.
Huntington regularly contributes his photos to the Ventana Wildlife Society (VWS), the non-govermental organization responsible for managing the condor population along the central California coast. This photo is from the cover of a VWS brochure:
Even the low-resolution scan above conveys the sense of a bird that is actively engaged with its environment. The extended neck suggests that this bird is intently focused on something.
This close-up, from the VWS annual report for 2012, shows a beautiful, dignified bird:
The next 2 photos, from the VWS annual report for 2014, capture the social side of condors:
The photo just above, of a father and his fostered son, is breath-taking.
The last 2 photos here are from Renee Brincks’s article “Flying High for 40 Years” in the Summer-Fall 2017 issue of the online magazine Carmel. There is something humorous about this trio, who appear to be “sitting” for their photo:
And this photo tells viewers part of the reason why Huntington’s photos are so wonderful:
It is only by spending much time in the field, paying close attention, and possessing tremendous patience that a photographer is able to “be there” when such a scene presents itself.
To see many, many more of Huntington’s photos of California condors, visit his website: webnectar.com. Mounted prints of Huntington’s photos may be purchased there. The website also includes a link to Huntington’s excellent documentary film The California Condors of Big Sur. This free film is an enjoyable and thorough look at the current state of the California condors living along California’s central coast.
To learn more about the important work of the Ventana Wildlife Society (and to contribute to their work), visit ventanaws.org.