The local seagulls (California, Western and Herrmann’s) are getting a jump start on the “crabbing season.” The season for sport crabbing began yesterday and the commercial season, south of Mendocino, begins on November 15. It was as if this Western Gull was well aware of that as she/he picked a crab out of the surf which had been turned upside down by an incoming wave.
I didn’t have my camera in hand when the gull began picking at the crab whose legs and claws were flailing toward the blue sky. I ran back to the car to grab my camera bag, mounted my 100-400 mm lens and knelt down to frame some shots. But by the time I returned most of the legs of the crab were already pulled off and the gull’s beak made its way into the body cavity.
There was a record crab harvest last year and state biologists report robust populations this year. But this gull who got her/his crab didn’t wait for the starting signal. I was also amazed that the other gulls did not try to hone in on her/his catch or steal way the crab. At one point the sea gull shared with one other bird.
“In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law that limits the number of crab traps on each fishing boat. The legislation by state Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, is designed to protect marine mammals, improve boat safety and prevent large out-of-state boats from crowding out California fishing boats.” So I am melting my butter now!
Wild life, like children, is best photographed at eye level. But given the direction of the sun the best angle was from in the water. So I worked my way as close to the water’s edge as possible to plant my knees and elbows in the sand. My strategy is to watch for the incoming (hopefully gently rolling) waves and be prepared to simply left my camera above my head and get wet if need be. If I try to jump to my feet it is more likely camera and all will go into the surf.
While enjoying the catch of the season I do want to be mindful of the many parts of the world and locally where people do not get enough to eat, especially the children in the horn of Africa.
So with my second shot I wanted to emphasize food. Thinking about the unequal distribution of food and wealth I choose to desaturate the majority of the image, leaving about one percent with the vibrancy of the carrot. Yes, it’s a visual metaphor.
So when I eat my carrots this week I prefer to pray – “Blessed be God/dess, she is our bread – may the whole world be clothed and feed!”