August 2020 was the month of the hummingbird in our garden- they rule the back yard. When we are outside we are constantly “buzzed” as they make sure we know we are in their territory. We’ve had many more than ever before- is it the hot, dry weather? the fires elsewhere? Whatever the reasons, we have enjoyed having so many! Our local bird expert writes that some will start leaving soon (as they always do in September), but we imagine that we will continue to have a few that will stay around through the fall.
There seems to be a Hummingbird Fight Club going on in our back yard these days. In the last month, we have had more hummingbirds than ever before, and although it has thinned out a bit in the last week, we have constant territorial battles going on- especially in the mornings and early evenings. We have four feeders, but there is always one that is the feeder of choice that must be guarded by whoever seems to be in charge at the time. Often there are six to eight hummers involved in the dispute over the chosen feeder! I like this shot because this little one chose to take a break on a high willow branch, which made a nice composition.
We are home a lot these days (no surprise. . .) and have plenty of time to watch the hummingbird drama unfold in our yard! This handsome little guy is one of a group of newcomers to our yard and has the others on their toes, so to speak, as he chases them away from the feeder. I have yet to capture a good photo of him hovering, so here he is just after landing on the feeder.
I have been home a lot for the last couple weeks and have enjoyed getting out in the yard to watch the hummingbirds. We’ve had more than usual, but the prettier ones (I won’t even attempt to name the species)tend to leave the yard when I go outside. The feeder at the kitchen window attracts several hummers who sometimes (but not often) will feed at the same time. Our larger feeder out on the patio has been dominated by one hummingbird who sits on TOP of the feeder for over an hour at a time, preferring to guard it rather than feed. I have known children with that same personality trait!
I’ve taken many, many hummingbird photos over the years. And now I am trying to take better ones. The hard thing is to take them in flight, in focus, and in a good spot in the frame (good composition and background). So far, I have many, many shots of their tails as they take off- or just sitting at the feeders. At least in this shot, the wings are outstretched and moving.
I found a couple other shots I took when I was taking my berry still life for my class. These were taken before or after- without a tripod, because I couldn’t get high enough with the tripod. I used a shallow depth of field for fun- and I guess I wasn’t very steady on the stepstool, because these would definitely not pass the sharpness test! I like them anyway.
BTW, my hummingbird passed muster yesterday in my new photo class. I wondered how people (especially the instructor) would respond to the background, which had been edited using Topaz Impression- but they were fine with it. If you read my blog regularly, you’ll recognize this photo from last summer. The only critiques were some thought the little twig under the hummingbird could be cloned out, and one person would have liked a closed beak. One thing I’m learning is that people have differing opinions of each other’s work- and it’s all ok. It’s a very nice group of people, which makes it all easier.
When my friend Carol visits, it is pretty much guaranteed that every morning she will be found outside on the patio photographing the hummingbirds with her long lens. Here are a couple shots I took as I sat out back with her.
One of the areas we enjoyed the most at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum was the aviary- mostly because of the hummingbirds. As we wandered around the paths, we were able to catch glimpses of many of these cute little guys.