Colleen Wilson, otherwise known as The Crowtographer, adds some photos to her collection one day after work recently down at Robert Ostler Park. Wilson has garnered over 11,000 followers on Instagram and over 21,000 on Facebook by sharing her hobby online. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Colleen Wilson, otherwise known as The Crowtographer, adds some photos to her collection one day after work recently down at Robert Ostler Park. Wilson has garnered over 11,000 followers on Instagram and over 21,000 on Facebook by sharing her hobby online. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Campbell River ‘Crowtographer’ gaining huge social media following

Colleen Wilson says in a time of human disconnection, it can still be found in the eyes of animals

Why yes, there is an amateur photographer in Campbell River who has over 21,000 followers on Facebook and over 11,000 followers on Instagram for her photos of the local crows. Thanks for asking.

Her name is Colleen Wilson.

But she’s better known as The Crowtographer.

Her love of her inquisitive, playful feathered friends started early in life, but her photography of them certainly didn’t.

“My family’s from up in Northern Manitoba, and there’s lots of ravens and crows up there,” she says, watching the black shadowy figures dart around the tree branches at Robert Ostler Park downtown. “They were always fascinating to me because of their playfulness and their distinct personalities.

“Fast forward all these years later, I was working in Burnaby and I decided I needed to get into some kind of hobby,” she continues, “so I chose photography, bought a DSLR camera and thought, ‘now how am I going to learn to use this thing?’”

Well, she thought, crows are everywhere. Why not practice on those?

Then she met Dave.

Dave is a crow, by the way.

“Dave and I met every weekend for shoots,” she says. “He’d bring his offspring to meet me when he had them. It got to the point where they’d meet me at the train station and fly me home after work.”

She started posting her photos on social media and making friends with other crow enthusiasts, and soon started to amass quite a following.

“They get such a bad rap,” she says. “I like to try to shine a little light on them, because they are absolutely fascinating creatures.”

She ended up in Campbell River, as she says, “by winning life’s lottery. It was pure luck.”

When the contract expired for the company she worked for in the Lower Mainland, her partner – who had been wanting to move to the Island for years, Wilson says – took it as the shove that was needed.

They landed in Nanaimo, and she spent a year looking for work down there without getting much traction. Suddenly she came across an ad for a job at the North Island Employment Foundations Society.

“It’s an amazing organization,” she says, “and the team in there is just exceptional.”

These days she gets out with her camera every weekend – usually down at Frank James Park in Willow Point – and will head out once in a while after work on weeknights, as well.

But despite her moniker, she doesn’t only shoot crows.

“I love when we get the orcas coming through town, and I love going up to the Quinsam (River) when the bears are out,” she says.

She’s still working out a system for selling her work up here, but for now, she’s taken an interesting approach when people approach her wanting to buy her work.

“What I’ve been for the last year is offer high-res digital copies of my work in return for proof of donation to an organization addressing social justice, food security or COVID-19 impacts,” she says. “I’m happy to provide people with a digital copy of my work if they show me they did something good for another human. Or animal, actually. I’m not picky.”

You can see her work by searching “The Crowtographer” on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and message her there to get a digital copy of a piece you love in exchange for a donation to charity.

Or you can email her at thecrowtographer@gmail.com

More than anything else, however, she just wants people to take a few more moments here and there to interact with the natural world.

“So many people are struggling with isolation and lack of connection,” she says, “but we can actually find it in other species when we can’t find it in each other. We just need to expand our parameters a little bit. You’d be surprised what you can find if you look into the eyes of a crow.”

ALSO READ: ‘I’m very, very lucky to be doing what I do’

ALSO READ: Comox Valley photographer takes top Canadian Geographic Prize



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Campbell RiverPhotography

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 6 -12: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

Supporters — and shoppers — lined up waiting at the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South, waiting for the doors to open on the store's first day of operations since the pandemic forced its closure. (Photo courtesy Kate Fox)
CHCA Thrift Store re-opens in Cranbrook

After a closure of 15 months, due to the pandemic, the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South has once again opened its doors for business.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Most Read