Blue-Violet Iris Interior

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hummingbirds in Action!

A flash of iridescent red reveals
the location of tiny hummingbird!

I think it would be safe to say that most folks like hummingbirds and we're no different at our house. Rather than put out feeders, we like to landscape with birds in mind and when we redid our backyard a few years ago, we definitely planted for hummers. Also, every summer we put fuchsias and salvias in pots on the deck to lure the hummingbirds in. We'll see Anna's, Black-Chinned, and, occasionally, Rufous Hummingbirds. They can get quite territorial about our yard, perching in the trees and singing their creaky little songs and dive-bombing one another if an unauthorized individual attempts to visit the waxbell! It's such a pleasure to see their iridescent bodies hovering among the flowers; hummingbirds have a touch of magic about them. Of course, as a photographer, I've longed to get a photograph of a hummingbird in flight, but they don't exactly stick around waiting for you to set up your equipment! I knew that the only way I would ever get some decent hummingbird photos (and that means NOT taken through a window!) would be if I set up my camera and waited. I was determined that this summer I would make that happen!

Mouse kept me company during
the stakeout.
I brought my camera downstairs when I woke up yesterday morning with the idea of having it handy, at the very least, and when I looked out the glass door at the back deck, there was a hummingbird. I thought, it's warm enough to be outside, so let's make today the day I photograph a hummingbird. So I got out my tripod, put my 100mm lens on my camera, set it up so it was focused on the pot full of salivas, and put the camera in "Sports" mode so that it would automatically focus on what's moving and continuously take photos (at a rate of 3.7 per second) when I pressed the shutter button. I made sure my setup was within easy reach of a chair and settled in to wait with a book on digital photography.

The dog watched for squirrels
while I watched for hummers.
And so I waited. And waited. And waited some more. For several hours, no hummingbirds came at all. Eventually, the male Anna's hummingbird that has been our most regular recent visitor stopped by. He hovered high over the deck, taking in me, the camera, and the dog, and uttered a series of "chick! chick! chick!" noises. I interpreted this to mean that the dog was too close to the fuchsia for the hummingbird's liking and so put the dog in the house. I ended up taking three series of photos, one at 4:55 in the afternoon and the other two at 6:55. I had begun my stakeout around 1:30, so there was a lot of waiting! But I got some good reading done while I waited and the photos I managed to get were great! 

You can see the rest of the photos I took here.

I'm hoping that later this summer I'll be able to take another round of photos, including ones of the hummingbirds feeding on the salvias, but I'm very pleased that my patience paid off and I was able to get some beautiful hummingbird photos!


  1. Great shots :) I tried this too with a tripod but the cottage has feeders so the pictures don't have that pretty, natural look to them. Awesome job!

  2. oh my goodness, these are awesome photos, I adore hummingbirds. I hope you have a super weekend!

    enjoy *~*

  3. Your determination definitely paid off. These photos are amazing!