Wing Photos

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.


Bee Dazzler
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Bee Dazzler

The bees have been wild this year. And, as I have yet to be stung, they are still one of my favorite subjects. Actually, I love photographing flowers and the bees add some life.


Serendipity
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Serendipity

It is really interesting to me to see the motion in this shot. The bee is actually leaning into the turn like a bike rider.

I was framing up the shot of the flower when the bee flew in from the left. She made a beautiful arc into the photo and I hit the shutter release as many times as I could!


Red Dragon
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Red Dragon

I like dragonflies and this guy and his friends were putting on quite a show. They were diving down to the surface of the water and skimming across it (hence the name I guess,) I got a few action shots but this is my favorite!

While I was trying to identify this guy I found many sites incorrectly identifying damsel flies as dragonflies. The way you tell the difference is by how they hold their wings when they are resting. This is a dragonfly, wings perpendicular to the body. A damselfly holds it's wings back against it's body.


Glowing Bee
Monday, July 10, 2006
Glowing Bee

Today, when we took The Hound for her afternoon walk we bumped into one of our neighbors. She was working in her garden like she does almost every day. Part of her garden was particularly attractive to the bees, so I took the opportunity to get a few bee portraits.


Duck Taking Flight
Friday, June 9, 2006
Duck Taking Flight

I think these are the same ducks from our last trip to the gardens! I think she said something to insult the Koi. Because the Koi jumped out of the water near her and made her take off like this. Of course I can't say I blame her. The Koi was twice her size!


Alice's Ducks
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Alice's Ducks

We had another nice walk through Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens today. (Commonly mistaken as just Alice Keck Park. As in Alice Keck's park, but her name was Alice Keck Park, and it is her Memorial Garden.) I only point this out because it was not entirely clear to me until today. Actually, I guess I just never thought about it before today.

So, on to the Ducks. They were chasing each other around the pond the whole time we were there. Ahhh, spring is here! :-D


Freesia Buzz
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Freesia Buzz

This image was one shot before yesterday's photo of the day.

It was a good walk with the hound. Maybe because it has finally warmed up a little during the day. (Personally I liked the snow! But I am not conscious early enough in the morning to go play in it before it melts :)


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.


Posing Butterfly
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Posing Butterfly

This guy was posing so nicely. I particularly like the color of the leaves he is perched on. They go nice with his wings.


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.


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.


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.


Dragon
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Dragon

Proof that dragons once roamed the earth! (or at least the skies)

Don't believe me? Well imagine this guy's great-great-great-gran'daddy with a wingspan of well over half a meter. Making them among the largest flying insects ever known, and the largest thing in the sky at the time. Of course that was millions of years ago. In fact, these insects were around long before the dinosaurs.

  • Living fossils
    Other interesting plants and animals that have remained virtually unchanged since pre-historic times.
  • The Wollemi Pine
    Perhaps that giant dragon flew over these trees. The trees were thought to be extinct until 1994 when a small grove of them was found near Sydney Australia. You will soon be able to help preserve the tree by purchasing one of them (cultivated in captivity) for your garden.


Droppin' in for Lunch
Friday, January 14, 2005
Droppin' in for Lunch

I like to feed the Sea Gulls at the beach. This guy was doing his Humming Bird impression.


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.