A notable book

So far in this blog, I have been categorizing books focused on the California condor as those that provide details about condors and the condor-human story or those for younger readers.

This post is about a notable book of photographs that falls in a third category.

The book is California Condors: A Day at Pinnacles National Park by Shirlaine and Bob Baldwin (Elm Grove 2016).

01 Title page excerpt

The Baldwin’s book includes dozens and dozens of their excellent photos, all carefully organized. The paper and print quality is excellent. The colors are California.

In this post I show some low-resolution, cropped scans to provide a sense of the book.

As its name suggests, Pinnacles National Park offers remarkable rock formations that are worthy of California condors (and vice versa).

02 Pinnacle

The topography provides opportunities for photographers with their feet on the ground to capture condors at eye level.

03 Watchful

The abundance of condors in the park provides opportunities to capture them interacting with each other.

04 Adult & juvenile

Two photos drew my attention because of how they captured the California condor’s curves. Note the bend in the leading edge of the left wing:

05 Curved primary

Again note the shape of the leading edge of the left wing, but also the curve of the bird’s “keel”:

06 Curves

Being more botanically than geologically oriented, and having grown up in a part of southern California where oaks were common but conifers were absent, it is the gray pines (Pinus sabiniana) of Pinnacles that really made an impression on me. When I have visited there were no condors. But now there are both!

07 Gray pine & condor

This is great, warm image of the park’s rocky, pine woodland:

08 Rocky woodland

The text in the Baldwin’s book is spare but thoughtful. Here is the book’s conclusion:

09 Conclusion

Because of its format, I initially thought this book was for children and delayed looking for it. Now that I have a copy, it is clear that the intended audience for this book is not children (although they will likely enjoy it).

California Condors: A Day at Pinnacles National Park is full of fine photography. The book is a substantial accomplishment and a valuable addition to the published works about the California condor.

A previous post to this blog provides a guide to those fact-filled Essential books about the California condor. The California Condor Reference includes a guide to more than 50 books for younger readers: CalConRef.