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.

Tala MacDonald, a 17-year-old student at Mount Sentinel Secondary who is also a volunteer firefighter, has won the $100,000 Loran Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
West Kootenay student wins $100K scholarship

Tala MacDonald is one of 30 Canadians to receive the Loran Scholarship

Montrose resident Kimba McLean has hiked Antenna Trail every day since October and counting. Photo: Jim Bailey
Montrose man makes daily trek up Antenna Trail

Kimba McLean put on more than 800-km hiking Antenna Trail every day for the past six months

Kristian Camero and Jessica Wood, seen here, co-own The Black Cauldron with Stephen Barton. The new Nelson restaurant opened earlier this month while indoor dining is restricted by the province. Photo: Tyler Harper
A restaurant opens in Nelson, and no one is allowed inside

The Black Cauldron opened while indoor dining is restricted in B.C.

First-year Selkirk College student Terra-Mae Box is one of many talented writers who will read their work at the Black Bear Review’s annual (virtual) launch on April 22. Photo: Submitted
Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
‘In grief for our dying world’: B.C. climate activists embark on 4-day protest

Demonstrators will walk through Vancouver for the first two days before boarding a ferry Sunday morning

Most Read