Hummingbird Photos

Beak Cleaning
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Beak Cleaning

Hummers seem to like to clean their beaks after they eat. For that matter, my finch seems to like to do that too.


Hummer in Flight
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Hummer in Flight

She just hovered there for a while. I think she was as interested in checking me out as I was interested in her. She did not seem scared. (It probably did not hurt that there were about 20 other hummingbirds around and I had not eaten any of them yet.) She sat and ate casually after she was done looking at me. I'm glad she stopped though, it made for a much nicer shot.


Two Thirty
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Two Thirty

I love sun dials. Hopefully someday soon we'll have space for a nice one. Of course I'll probably just fill the space up with more plants. But that's ok too. :-D


Hovering Hummer
Friday, June 15, 2007
Hovering Hummer

I have been chasing the hummingbirds around here for the last two weeks. Trying to get them comfortable with me and my camera. Today this one came to me. She decided to have dinner at our backyard feeder. Fortunately this was her second helping, so I had my camera all ready when she showed up.


Sunset Dinner Flight
Friday, June 1, 2007
Sunset Dinner Flight

The hummers have gone wild around here lately. We have three feeders up, but it is a little hard to compete with all the flowers. There are actually three birds that fight over this bush regularly. Even though the bush has plenty to go around.


Anna
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Anna

We were looking at roses the other day at La Sumida Nursery on Patterson in Goleta. I was minding my own business when I heard this buzzzzz over my head. She was having a great time buzzing the roses and me, but with a little patience I was able to find her resting spot in the top of a Pomegranate tree.


Taking Flight
Thursday, November 2, 2006
Taking Flight

The hound loves to explore new territory. I guess she's sniffed all there is to smell at home. Yesterday we got to take a walk along the bluff in Shell Beach, just north of Pismo Beach. Near the end of our walk we heard a bit of chattering from a bush. Upon further examination we found the hiding place of a beautiful hummingbird. Unfortunately the sun was too low in the sky to get a good shot so when we went out for our walk today I checked the bush and sure enough, that must be home for this guy!

I took quite a few shots, this is where he was just about tired of playing with me. He is just starting to take flight. You can see his left wing rising behind his back.


Green Hummer
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Green Hummer

She thought she was blending in pretty well, but I saw her fly in.


Anna
Saturday, September 9, 2006
Anna

We when to a beautiful place in Carpinteria today called Seaside Gardens. Seaside Gardens is a nursery and botanic garden. They had some amazing plants. And it was a hummingbirds' paradise.

One of the things I liked about the Gardens is they had the plants separated by country of origin, both in the sales area and the nicely designed botanic gardens.

So, if you are in the area and you find yourself in need of a Lotus for your Koi pond or anything else remotely exotic just get off the 101 at Exit 88 (Padero Lane or Santa Claus Lane) go toward the mountains and turn right. Seaside Gardens will be on your left.


Hummer-Hawk
Friday, September 1, 2006
Hummer-Hawk

She looks like she is perched, just waiting for lunch to scurry by. The only problem with that is flowers usually don't scurry.

In reality, she is stretching her neck out and tilting her head back and forth trying to figure out why there is a strange creature with a 300mm nose stalking her.


Sleepy Hummer
Monday, August 14, 2006
Sleepy Hummer

Well I did not get my hummingbird feeder this weekend, but at least I got the hummingbird! :-D


Relaxing Hummer
Friday, January 27, 2006
Relaxing Hummer

This is a little guy who had a little too much to eat. He had just finished eating at a feeder and he flew over to the Bougainvillea and fluffed out to rest.


Costa's Lunchtime
Saturday, October 8, 2005
Costa's Lunchtime

This is one of the higher speed shots I have taken of the hummers in the Palm Springs area. I usually take a slower shot that shows more motion in the wings, but it is nice to try a variety of things. The shutter speed was actually not that fast, it was helped out buy the fact that I just happened to hit the shutter at the top of his wing sweep.

This guy has some amazing throat feathers that stick out on the sides.

I get a lot of questions about my hummingbird shots...

  • How fast was the shutter speed?
    Actually, relatively slow. 60th to 250th of a second. And, it is not usually the shutter that freezes the motion of their wings. Normally a high speed strobe is used which can go down to as little as a millionth of a second because it does not depend upon the mechanics of moving a shutter.

    Some commercial shots are even staged with a high speed strobe and camera outfitted with an infrared trigger. The trigger fires the shutter (and the camera fires the strobe) when something breaks the beam in front of the camera. Cool use of technology, but if you depend upon the technology completely you will get a very clinical image that does not look at all life-like.

    I don't use a strobe for two reasons. I think the resulting photos look too clinical and just like any other bird and, I don't have one. :-D
  • You must have an impressive lens, what kind is it?
    Most of my hummers are shot with an average Canon 70-200mm zoom lens. I am just very patient when it comes to watching these guys, I have spent over an hour at times to let them get comfortable with me.
  • Did you use a tripod? Did you set up the shot in advance?
    Nope, with very few exceptions these are handheld shots taken while wandering around where the hummers frequent. I like the freedom to move around and get exactly what I want.


Fly-thru
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Fly-thru

There have been some really important people interested in my hummingbirds at the shows lately. :) (see yesterday's post) So I decided to look through some of the images I still have tucked away. This was one of the first ones that jumped out at me.

The one in flight is exactly what I love to capture when I am chasing hummers. His face is sharp and his beak, but you can still see the movement of flight. And, the guy on the feeder looks like he is conducting an orchestra.

Many of the hummingbird shots you see are done with a strobe, a very fast flash. A strobe freezes the action and you do not have to depend upon the speed of the camera's shutter. The best cameras these days reach their limits at around 1/8000th of a second, my AE-1 goes down to 1/1000th. This image was taken between 1/100th and 1/250th of a second. Extremely high speed strobes can go down to a millionth of a second, because they do not depend upon mechanics like shutters.

Unfortunately strobe images come out looking a little clinical for my tastes. But then again, they are all just tools it really depends upon how you use them.


Checking the Nest
Tuesday, August 9, 2005
Checking the Nest

Saturday was the end of "Fiesta" here in Santa Barbara. In theory, Fiesta or Old Spanish Days is a celebration of the founding of the city. Ironically, most of the locals leave town for it. It has kind of devolved over time to just a generally wild party in the streets.

With everyone out of town I was not expecting a huge day at the show. Especially because my normal location was at the opposite end of La Cumbre Plaza under a stage with a bunch of dancers on it. But my first sale made the day worth it.

A little boy stopped with his mom, one of my cards seemed to really catch his eye. After talking to them for a bit, I found out that he liked hummingbirds. So I gave him some pictures to look at that were a little out of his reach. I had not intended to sell him anything, I just love to see kids' reactions to my images. But he fell in love with this image. And, after a small discussion with his mom, he decided to buy it with his allowance.

So in honor of my favorite customer of the week I thought I would find another picture of Mrs. "A" in case he stops by the site.


Hummers
Monday, July 18, 2005
Hummers

The top hummingbird is actually the same bird as in this photo. She was hovering around the feeder for quite a while checking out the strange creature with the 200mm nose.


Thoughtful Hummer
Friday, June 3, 2005
Thoughtful Hummer

You don't often find them sitting thoughtfully. Perhaps the 113° F Heat had something to do with it. This guy had just finished a big meal at a huge feeder not far from the Bougainvillea, and this was about as far as he could get after his feast.


Hummingbird Tongue
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Hummingbird Tongue

I like the motion in this photo. I am not particularly fond of the frozen hummingbird photos you see in calendars and other places. They use a fast strobe to freeze all the action and it makes them look like stuffed animals.

This girl was just finished eating. She leapt from the feeder with her tongue still sticking out. They seem to like to lick their beak after eating, they are a lot of fun to watch.


Hummingbird Silhouette
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Hummingbird Silhouette

If I really wanted to, I could tweak this and get some detail out of the Hummingbird. But I like him completely in silhouette. They seem so thoughtful when they are perched like this.


Dropin' in for Lunch
Monday, May 23, 2005
Dropin' in for Lunch

It was a good weekend. It was the 40th anniversary of the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts show. The show is usually only on Sundays, but since it was a special occasion some of the artists were out there on Saturday too.

Unfortunately it was a big weekend for other things in town. A car show and a Volleyball tournament combined with temperatures 13 degrees above made for a slow weekend. The good thing is, I am not just out there for the sales. :-)

I love talking to people about my photography. Hummingbirds in particular seem to bring about great conversations. I have heard wonderful stories about peoples' interactions with these amazing creatures.

Today I talked to a very nice couple visiting from Germany, they had been traveling the coast and seemed to be having a wonderful time. We talked about Big Sur and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park where they had been. And the wonderful hummingbirds they had seen. The man told me how he had just mentioned to his wife how the perfect job would be to travel up and down the California Coast and take pictures of nature and wildlife, and there I was!

So today's photo of the day was his choice. From the selection of Hummingbird prints I had at the beach, this was his favorite.


Hummer Tongue
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Hummer Tongue

Hummers are very interesting. One of the things I find interesting is their habit of licking their beak after eating. This shot only got about half of his tongue.

Or maybe... they just don't like their pictures taken? This guy lives in the garden area of a Nursery in Carpinteria. Pretty cool place to live if you're a hummer. I have another shot of him online here.


Mrs. "A"
Saturday, March 5, 2005
Mrs. "A"

Looking back I realized it has been almost three weeks since I put a hummingbird online. This is Mrs. "A". She was kind enough to build her nest in my potted Bougainvillea right outside my glass patio door.

The first sign something interesting was happening was the male hummer. He came one evening and sat near this same spot in the Bougainvillea. He would come at dusk and leave at dawn. He did this for about a week. Then just as I was starting to think I could get him used to my presence with my camera, he disappeared. The next day she showed up with a few twigs. Two days later, the nest was done. She sat on two eggs for a couple of weeks and they hatched on my birthday. Until I got my Hound Dog, I couldn't have imagined a better birthday present!


Isla Vista Hummer
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Isla Vista Hummer

The day I took this I was supposed to be practicing pastels in a class at Island View Nursery in Carpinteria. But once there is a hummingbird around I can't think of doing anything but taking pictures.


Morning Salutation
Monday, January 3, 2005
Morning Salutation

Humming birds are incredible to watch, this guy was sitting in a huge Bougainvillea above my head. They have a habit of making a sound that makes you think they are dive-bombing you but they are usually sitting still when they make that sound. When they call they put their beak in the air and the feathers on their throat stick straight out. This photo was taken just after he had made the call and he was in the middle of a good post-breakfast stretch.