Again with the hummers… *sigh*

27May07

Okay I’m thinking this has moved into an obsession. (OCD perhaps?) Which does not surprise me because last spring I think I gained about ten pounds just watching these guys fight – because it was hard to leave my porch to take a hike. There is something so brutish and interesting watching these guys fight for the primary right to the feeder on your front porch. All this for the cost of a bag of sugar. (And to think cable charges almost sixty bucks for a person to watch a boxing match! I’ll stick to my cheaper method of entertainment thank you.)

Meanwhile, I had gotten a touch of criticism on using a flash when capturing the photos at night. Now I liked the look but I suppose that’s what makes photography so subjective in nature. However I enjoyed the challenge of considering doing this a different way. So I started shooting all over again and some of the photos I really liked. It is for me impossible to identify these little guys by the light of day. (The only exception is the black chinned who strikes a captive pose always.) So don’t expect an identification here – just hopefully you’ll enjoy the photos just for that sake alone. (This are my favorite views of these little guys.)

Here is a little guy in sepia.

The sepia guy and the bird below is the same. I loved his fuzzy underbelly. My best “guesstimate” is that he is a juvenile black chinned but don’t quote me on that.

One of the things I love about taking photos of birds in general is I sit back, see movement and I am almost always stunned by what the camera sees! So far what I see with the naked eye and the camera sees are two completely different birds. It’s shocking, stunning and a wonderful experience. The movement of all the birds seems to remove specific characteristics.

Okay lastly, another night shot. It’s a bit fuzzy but I’m tossing it in for identification purposes only. We had been discussing how to distinguish a rufous and and an allen. Here’s why it turns out to be so tricky.

If you take a gander at the fourth tail feather from the left you can (just barely) see the funky notch at the end of the feather? This exists on all rufous hummingbird including females – it will also exist on the other side of the tail as well, fourth feather in. That does not exist on an allen hummingbird and this is what the scientist use to confirm identification of a rufous vs. the allen. The trick of course is seeing it while it’s moving, while they are capable of flying at 20-25 mph, hoping they kick open those tail feathers and you’ll be able to view that tail feather. It’s amazing that the identification process is so specific!

Here is another shot so you can see it again.

Now if you really want to see really amazing photos of various hummingbirds I’d suggest checking out this pro. You can view his work on this webpage.

http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0701/feature4/gallery1.html

The way Luis A. Mazariegos photographed them was ingenious in my opinion. What he did was create a simple box, all white inside, and hung a local flower. He hung the flower in the box. One side of this white box was left empty to put light into the box and to take the photos. Then he traveled the world and caught them – usually in butterfly nets. Let them go in this box and just waited for them to take to the local flower and thus, creates probably the prettiest hummingbird photos known to mankind. Okay maybe that’s a little grandiose but the prettiest photos known to me anyway. From what I read his goal is to capture every hummingbird on the planet. I bow in homage. All I can say is there is a reason this fellow works for National Geographic.

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2 Responses to “Again with the hummers… *sigh*”

  1. 1 montucky

    Great photos! Again! A compulsion to photograph them is not a bad thing. They are so interesting. My wife and I spend way too much time watching the feeder, but as you mentioned, it’s so much superior to TV programming.

    Your comment about what the eye sees and the camera sees is interesting. I’m seeing that more and more as I photograph things I’ve seen for so many years. The camera always shows up something different or a different perspective. It has also caused me to look closer than ever before at many things even before I released the shutter.

  2. Hi! I have to agree about the aspect of gaining so much more from still shots. I wonder how that’s going to effect my aging memory? :o) Maybe I’ll begin to recall things better. (Something about giving birth to twins swiped my memory banks clean! The good news is they are both brilliant so maybe they just ripped off my abilities?) This new photo perspective just blows my mind and yep, for me as well it’s with everything to the little tiny flowers, birds, deer… the first time I saw that mule deer tail I was stunned! I have a strong feeling these little birds won’t be the last time.


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