Pretending to be a Nature Photographer

Recently I've been gaining a new level of respect for nature photographers. The coffee table books of scenes and animals are masterpieces, and I enjoy looking at them. It takes a special person to bring the subject, the moment, and the artistry all together for a perfect shot. I'm not special.

For several days, I have been trying to photograph our neighbors, the Ravens. I'm not really sure just when they moved in to the neighborhood, but we've heard them around for several years. We don't know with certainty where their home is, but they do come visit us regularly. They hop around in our parking lot, they frequent our compost pile, and they do regular fly-bys of our kitchen. It's great entertainment. With all this activity, you'd think that I could catch a photo or two--nothing great, just good. No luck.

Maybe they are camera shy. I see them out the kitchen window, as they swoop down and land. Then they see me stand up to retrieve my camera, and they take off. Their eyesight must be incredible. I try sneaking to the window, crouched low as I make my way around the table and chairs. If so much as my face pops in to view, they're gone. The only thing so far that is working a little is to sneak my camera around the side of our big icebox, and snap from there. Evidently, they don't think that there is a person attached to the camera, if I do it that way.
I should say that these attempts generally apply to ground-level shots. If I am outside and the ravens are safely in a tree above me, they willingly sit for the picture. But photos against a bright sky don't register as well with my little point-and-shoot.

Future opportunities do look positive, however. Lately, Greg has been calling to the ravens daily, and they seem to be responding. He will go outside, cluck his tongue, and call, "Hey, Ravens!" The clucking sound is very similar to one of the sounds the ravens themselves make. They've become quite reliable in their response to him: They soon appear in a tree nearby, and wait to see if Greg has some tidbit to toss to them. If he does, they watch where the food lands, but rarely come to retrieve it when he is still there. It's been fun to watch this exchange happen. It does make me wonder, though, who is training whom?