Saturday, May 13, 2017

More Album Covers

In keeping with the fun of mobile editing, and the mass of marketing work I've been engaged in lately, I dipped my toes into minimalist album covers again. These things are always quite fun to create given the reckless abandonment of ultimate image fidelity they inspire. No worries about degradation when there's text to distract attention.

The snap above was taken lackadaisically at Fort Armstead while compatriot Rob was shooting a time lapse. There's always a number of fishermen and "tourists" wandering the area, but this car happened to remain isolated from the main group and had a great view straight out to old Sparrow's Point, site of the abandoned/being demolished Bethlehem Steel plant. With knowledge of the context, it works well as a sort of post-manufacturer's echo.

This one, however, is just generally silly. I've been photographing the pigeons and starlings around my apartment building quite a bit as of late, and this fellow was more determined than the rest to remain in place despite human interaction (i.e. me walking up to it clunky and clumsily). A fantasy routine played in my head wherein he attacked my face and shat on my head for good measure.

Then there's this fellow. This one struck home a bit in various ways. In fact, there's a bit of a story behind him I may as well share while internal narratives are venturing quite fluidly through my fingers. First, the original image (or at least without the intense processing):

Walking to my car a couple Friday mornings ago, I noticed a small gaggle of starlings pecking about at something laying behind my car, figuring it was trashed food, maybe something in a wrapper they were struggling to unravel. Stepping closer, they of course scattered, and leaning down I quickly identified the subject of their aggression as this juvenile bird. Not sure of the species, possibly another starling. Not an infant, but certainly not developed to the point of flight just yet. Quite possibly, it fell out of the nest and was deemed easy prey.

Its neck had been expertly torn open, blood soaking the pavement in vivid crimson. A sad sight, much akin to every bit of roadkill passed by on the road, but with the available time to study and analyze the more brutal side of nature. As one with photographic proclivities is wont to do, I grabbed my camera to photograph the poor thing, and whilst framing low for this shot its mouth began to move and a shallow gurgle like a drowned cry sputtered forth, more from its neck than beak. It was not yet dead, but certainly working toward the end. A slow death, laying alone on the pavement behind my car on a rainy Friday morning.

I grabbed a small wad of tissues from my car, something soft with which to pick up and cover the poor bird while it tried to simply die. Delicately, I carried it to the front of my car, still trying to keep it out of the battering patter of rain, and tucked him in a concrete corner where he could pass without the continued agitation of the ravenous starlings. I kept my hand over his body to feel his struggling lungs, waiting for them to cease movement, bright red soaking through the tissues the whole time. After perhaps 15 minutes, assured that his transition to nothing was complete, I carried him out of the garage and set his body under a tree, preferring that he not rot on the asphalt and instead decompose more naturally, consumed by insects and otherwise decomposing where the nutrients of his carcass might feed the tree in a more dignified sort of fashion. I checked on the process of his decomposition over the next week to ensure no interruption, and today I am satisfied that he is, more or less, a part of that tree I cheerily study each morning (often on the hunt for "morning birds" to photograph before my trip into the office).

To a degree it sounds silly. I have no shortage of experience with the dead or dying, and most critically my experience "hunting" a bird certainly impacted me with more trauma. This is the way of nature, and it is not to be interrupted. Perhaps it was a symptom of "morning brain", not quite awake and rather influenced more heavily by emotional sways while the hard logic centers still kick back into gear to rationalize the experiences of the day. Regardless, my morning coddling this juvenile bird in his dying moments felt and continues to feel relevant, and its memory continues to hold influence on my day-to-day. Not relevant by virtue of consequence, but certainly a brief experience I don't suspect will soon be ejected from the litany of daily thoughts that cycle my conscious before bed each night.

Rest well, small bird friend.