Summer Hummers

Another Hummingbird

Hummingbird on Black

It was photographing birds that first sparked my interest in photography way back when I was knee-high to a titmouse, and it's photographing birds that continues to be one of my favorite pastimes--when I can find the time for it, that is.

And photographing birds takes time.

And patience, timing, a little creativity… you get the picture.

Anyway, it’s been a few years since I’ve done any serious bird photography and the time has left me with a gaggle of ideas I want to try bouncing around in my head. This week I decided it was time to break out the big glass, open a can of patience, and see if I can’t bring some of these ideas to fruition.

Despite all the time I spent photographing birds over the years, for some reason I never got around to photographing hummingbirds--time to fix that.

I experimented with lighting set ups for hummingbirds a few weeks ago, and motivated by boredom and determination I spent Sunday evening and most of the day Monday sitting behind my camera waiting.

The waiting paid off. There was plenty of activity and I was able to come away with several good shots.

Four years ago I would have been perfectly happy with the "good" shots I got, but as my tastes and vision evolve I find myself continually wanting more. It’s no longer enough for me to get beautiful bird portraits—I want a little drama to kick things up a notch.

Instead of just taking a pretty bird picture, what I ultimately want is to capture an image that tells the story of the animal by capturing a peak moment in its life.

Hummingbirds, for example, often fight for access to food sources. I see one male at my feeders that attacks and chases off other birds. Sometimes when they attack, they appear to actually hit one another in mid-air.

Capturing one of these moments won’t be easy—which is probably why I have never seen it done—but that just makes me want it more. My goal is to take an image that captures the drama of daily life for a Ruby-throated Hummingbirds by the time the birds fly south for the winter. That’s my challenge, check back to see how it goes.

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