Hummingbird follies

Every year our native plant garden attracts scores of hummingbirds — Anne planned it that way when she did the planting, clever girl that she is.

And every year I make a token attempt to photograph them.

But — it’s so HARD!


On the lookout

First of all, they are small. So you need big-time magnification to end up with a recognizable creature in the image.



Secondly, they (at least the ruby thoated variety in our neighborhood) are exceedingly — how to put this? — FLIGHTY. Getting close to them with a camera is a real challenge.



So I do the best I can, which in this case involved hand-holding a weighty Sigma 50-500 lens (aka “Bigma”) mounted to the camera. On this occasion I also fired up a TTL flash set to Manual at 1/16 power, in an attempt to generate some highlights on the birds’ feathers.

Little sipper

Little sipper

The results are grainy and not tack-sharp, but I hopefully captured some of the wee birdies’ personalities in the images.


No binocular vision for this guy (a juvenile male, I think)

Too bad the ones that have taken up residence in our back yard are all females, and thus lacking the striking crimson chin-feathers of their male counterparts.

Better luck next year!

Ruby throat in b&w

Ruby throat in b&w


6 thoughts on “Hummingbird follies

    • Too true Mad Queen. It’s only later in the season, as they desperately feed to build up energy for their long journey south, that one will allow another to take up residence in another section of our back yard. Currently we have two – um – Queens in residence, whose job it is to chase interlopers from the region whenever they appear. I’ve also seen hummers chasing sparrows and finches from the premises, even though they do not compete for the sugar water. Feisty!

    • Well, the longer you sit and hold the (roughly) 7 lbs. of lens and camera at port arms, the simpler it becomes, achecotech. Thanks for commenting!

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