Eurasia sans Color

Beyond this city dweller's melancholy and, at the same time, inquisitive facial expression (!), I've liked this image ever since I had captured it. Yet I couldn't quite determine as to why.

Only after converting it to sepia, I realized that what I was being drawn to was its strong tactile quality--the textural contrast between the rusted fence and this Eurasian crow's smooth, shiny feathers.

Color, color that I normally love, had to be destroyed.

Raven Ravenson

It took a ten-hour road trip, and I wasn't even looking for him, but I found Raven Ravenson! 

Fit enough for Slavic fairy tales and to be Odin's companion alike (he looked more like Munnin to me), I interpreted the appearance of this jaw-dropping specimen as a very good sign.

Of course, I'm pretty much IN LOVE with darker-than-darkest-night Corvus birds, so I might be slightly biased.

The Crow of Peterhof

"I am a Eurasian hooded crow, just chilling here--literally--by the Gulf of Finland, hanging out outside of Peter the Great's palatial complex in Peterhof."

"I like it here up north: when it gets hot for those few days in the summer, I refresh myself in the royal fountains. How many avians can attest to that? In fact, I prefer the cascades perching atop golden Samson glistening in the sun. (His post-WWII replacement, that is, since the Nazis stole the real one, and it's never been recovered.)

And best of all, I watch silly tourists from all over the world attempting to toss coins into Peter's boots (those of his statue, but it might as well be real Peter, since he was nearly seven feet tall!). Their tour guides tell them that it's for good luck. Good luck for me--I've already amassed a small fortune from all the coins that missed!

So I'd retire in the Maldives, but I prefer the local climate. And besides, who's going to keep all the tourists in check?"