The hummingbird experience — from a photographer’s viewpoint

It’s peak hummingbird season here in our backyard native garden so lovingly planted and cultivated by my wife Anne. The feisty and highly territorial rubythroats have taken over the property — at least in their own minds.

Guarding the territory

(One wonders that the far-larger blue jays and just-as-feisty mockingbirds must think when they are buzzed and swooped upon by these tiny feathered missiles, in their quest to drive the interlopers from “their” backyard. Amusement? Mild botheration? Certainly not terror.)

In any case, my goal has been to photograph these beauties, and to do so preferably when they are NOT sitting on cheap plastic feeders that do much to detract from the drama of the  picture. And there’s the rub.

“Somebody click a shutter?”

Because getting your mighty 200mm lens swiveled around to center on a swift-moving hummer, then establishing a focus, and finally squeezing off the shutter is a near impossible task while these guys and gals are swooping erratically from bloom to bloom.

“Yeah, I thought so.”

The photo just below was the best I got from a recent morning’s shoot, and it’s a crappy photo — but I include it because it’s so representative of the hummingbird photographer’s experience: “DAMMIT! She moved just as I clicked the shutter!”


But I’ll keep trying. Currently we have something like five or six hummers hanging around the backyard at any one time, battling it out for exclusive access to every feeder and each patch of flowering plants.



4 thoughts on “The hummingbird experience — from a photographer’s viewpoint

  1. Be not so self critical, Arthouse! That last photo is as fascinating as the others before it, and (IMHO) captures the essence of the speed-of-light hummingbird. Your captions are too funny. Hummingbirds have recently chosen to visit my notgarden (and its cheap plastic feeders) and I was startled at how territorial they are. Bold, too. They’ve nearly landed on me.

    • Yes, Mad, they are bold – until you pick up a camera and try to aim it at them, then they become shy as unicorns. And thanks for your kind comments!

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