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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Glenn Moyer is seeking space on a public wharf in Sicamous in order to restart his water taxi business after a year-long shutdown due to COVID-19. (Glenn’s Water Taxi/Facebook)
Water taxi operator requests public dock moorage in Sicamous

Glenn Moyer, a long time water taxi operator, is brimming with stories of life on the lake

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

New signage was installed leading up to the intersection of 10th Avenue SW and Highway 97B in 2019, but concerns have been raised about continuing danger. (File photo)
Improvements urged for Salmon Arm’s Highway 97B/10th Avenue SE intersection

Council may bring up overpass with transportation ministry as crossing under provincial control

Sicamous Council approved a development permit for a new mobile home park on Hillier road on Wednesday, April 14. (Jim Elliot- Eagle Valley News)
Sicamous council approves development of 35 unit mobile home park

The new development will be located on Hillier Road

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

Penticton bylaw officers tore down a “pretty significantly sized” homeless camp underneath the bridge near Riverside Drive Friday, April 16 morning. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton bylaw tears down ‘significantly sized’ homeless camp under bridge

Many residents had made complaints about the camp before it was torn down

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Ford F-350s have been targeted in the North Okanagan by auto thieves since February 2021, Vernon North Okanagan RCMP data shows. (Gene J. Puskar - The Canadian Press/AP file)
Auto thieves target older Ford F-350s in Vernon: RCMP

Vernon Mounties remind all motorists no vehicle is immune to auto crime

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP were present at the McDonalds in Armstrong Thursday, April 15, 2021. (Tomer Joury - Facebook)
Police handle ‘high-risk’ situation at Armstrong residence

A woman was apprehended and taken to hospital under the Mental Health Act; no charges laid

Most Read