…And now for something completely different!  Hummingbirds!

I know I’ve said this a million times, but I’m – at best – an opportunistic wildlife photographer.  However, since Holly and I moved further outside the city, it seems the opportunity has presented itself more and more.  In any case, I wanted to take a few weeks here and share some animal pictures I’ve captured this year, and I thought I’d start with some of my favorites; hummingbird portraits.

Last year Holly and I put out hummingbird feeders and thoroughly enjoyed watching the constant goings on at the feeder.  After being inspired by other’s images of the birds in flight, I decided to try my hand at it and found it really challenging!  Well this year I tried another approach.  This year we’ve had two different hummingbirds just sort of camp out on the feeder.  A male, which we named Ralphie, and a female – who has since run off Ralphie – which we named Cindy (in the pictures here).  This particular feeder sits just outside our screened-in porch and over the months they’ve gotten used to us being out there while they drink from the feeder… or even just sit on the feeder.  Well, I decided to setup my camera, and using a remote started taking their pictures.  I started out using a longer lens with the tripod much further away, but as they got used to it, I kept moving the camera closer and closer, until finally I was using my 100mm macro lens for extreme close ups.  With the camera fixed on the tripod, I would just have to wait until they landed in the right spot, and then I could take their picture.  Luckily they’re creatures of habit and it was easy to know where to point the camera after watching them for a while.

In one particular session, one of the other females came over and challenged Cindy for her spot, and I managed to capture the action.  At first I was disappointed because it was blurry, but the more I kept playing with the image, I ended up loving it.  I’ve noticed that when the hummingbirds challenge each other, they fan their tails out (presumably to make them look bigger), and then bob back and forth, which ultimately creates this show of white swinging around.  In the image below you can see what I’m talking about.  Cindy’s body is facing the camera, but she’s spun her head around to look at the opposing bird.  The other bird is putting on its display, but you can see its eyes and beak in the blur of feathers.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy the shots!

More next week!

–Dan Thompson

Title Address Description
Maryville, TN 37804, USA

Alternate Perspective

ˈȯl-tər-nət pər-ˈspek-tiv
  1. A substitute or different visible scene.
  2. Another view or angle.
Downtown Knoxville in Fall Colors
Downtown Knoxville in Fall Colors
Downtown Knoxville in Fall Colors
Downtown Knoxville in Fall Colors

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