Hummingbird Picture Problems

I have spent part of the summer figuring out how to take a good photo of the hummingbirds that haunt the flowers and feeder. Aside from some easy still shots and a couple lucky flying fotos, I am being humbled into rookie status (again). I have come up with one main conspiracy theory about those good photographers. Tell me I’m wrong on this one…

To be really good, one must get a hummingbird (or two) that killed itself trying to fly through the picture window. They have a taxidermist friend who stuffs it and puts flexible wire in the wings so it can be positioned at various flying poses. Walla, take in focus pictures to your jolly hearts content. Sell that picture for big money with a bumblebee in it’s beak while grabbing a yellow jacket wasp with one of it’s little spindly feet and landing on a red willow branch with autumn leaves with the other foot. In the background you can just make out a poised (posed) bobcat ready to pounce.

How hard can it be to catch a little birdie in flight with just the right pose, the right background colors, the right lighting, the right framing and right enough so even I say “WOW”. So, I check the deck below the picture window daily.

Factors to consider until the picture window yields fruit… Is the eye in focus? are the feet tucked in, extended or signaling a direction? How much color is showing? can I see the ruby throat? Is it glinting colors in the sunlight? Is the lighting from behind for a silhouette? Can I get two in the picture? Can I get one with it’s beak open or flicking it’s tongue? Once again…is it in focus? Really in focus? How do I get those little squirts in focus? Focus is over rated isn’t it? Why do they chase each other? Hey you, ya you, the bully guarding the feeder…you are acting like our politicians and that’s not a compliment! Argh!

Learning is the process where one finds out how much they didn’t know they had to understand, I mean how hard is it to learn taxidermy? Meanwhile I’ll share a slideshow of the good, fair, interesting and I wish they were just a little, um, better. Here’s to learning a lot about the ruby throated hummingbird. (just click on a picture and see the whole pictures in a slideshow)

You can see the lighting, speed and color differences as no day is alike. To answer a couple questions, NO, I am not hoping for a bird from the window. Yes, I am often very frustrated over so many poor shots. Yes, I know one of those was a hummingbird moth.

Sometimes even a poor picture can get a point across better than just words. Instead of a thousand, maybe it’s still worth 59 words? But lets face it, you and I will never experience life like the hummingbird. If they ever build a ride at an amusement park called “The flight of the hummingbird” I’m not going on it unless I have advanced cancer and have tried everything else.

Gary

PS: I will use some of these pictures for my spiritual blog in a couple days, there are some good analogies and insights for living from those little hummingbirds. The link is https://garydweb.wordpress.com/

Published by Gary Fultz

Outdoors Man, Hunter, Fisherman, Guide, Writer / Author, Photographer, Public Speaker, Musician, Song Writer, Story Teller, Follower Of Jesus. Love God and family and total strangers

66 thoughts on “Hummingbird Picture Problems

  1. Gary, for what it’s worth I think these are really good! We just had a hummingbird fly in one of our arborvitaes and Nathan was like don’t even try to take a photo! I look forward to reading your spiritual lessons from the hummingbird! Love and blessings to you and your family!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. These are great! I have some hummingbird photos on my old computer that I took almost 20 years. None are as good as yours.

    A couple of the hummingbirds would fly around the house and look in the windows at us when the feeders were getting low. When we walked outside, as soon as we were through the door, these hungry little critters would fly right up in front of our face and CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP loudly, scolding us for letting their feeders get empty. They were so glutinous, it was hard to keep up! I wish I had gotten a video of the tiny hummingbirds scolding my big 6’2″ husband!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Linda, they are fearless. It’s a good thing they are not eagle size or they could take us out. They fight and scrap all the time when one starts hogging the food… Yes, pictures would be easier with a video camera

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great pics Gary! . . . far better than I’ve ever taken trying to capture these tiny feathered perpetual motion machines. There is a technique that guarantees absolutely no motion fuzziness that James Audubon utilized to draw his classic ornithological masterpieces . . . but I’d suggest checking with Fish & Game before shooting a hummingbird 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ha ha, ya, I know those guys. no understanding on those kinds of requests (I have had officials in the family). Mr Audubon present time would be considered a bird terrorist (the worst kind).

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    1. Thanks Robert, love the pun. I hope to add better and better photos to the collection. It’s a good challenge. Maybe cards and a couple canvas prints down the road??

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  4. Gary, these are almost as good as the hummingbird photos I imagine myself taking using only my cell phone, but then my imagination doesn’t have the disadvantage of actually taking hummingbird photos. My own amateur photography wisom is the same as everyone else’s – take 2,000 shots and sift out the good ones. What number are you on?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m a little slow sometimes Craig. My first thought was, “wow, you can really do that?” My second thought was ” if Craig takes his great shots with a cell phone, think what he could do with my camera”
      French impressionist photos. Good one. That would be like me trying to write a rap song (sorry, can’t do rap)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gary, I think those pictures are very good!

    Years ago, I had a cat who, while tied up, still managed to get a hummingbird. How, I’ll never know. But Babe was a very nimble (and determined) cat.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you very much. I grew up on a farm with farm cats. A cat is an amazingly quick creature and every bird is seen as food. Those hummingbirds fly like a missle sometimes and a cat could take them right out of the air

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  6. Gary, I have a friend that photographs various subject, mostly birds. He will take 1000 to 2000 pictures on any given outing and discard all but 6 or 7 that meet his criteria. Shooting at 6 frames per second and high shutter speed also helps capture that elusive ‘perfect’ shot.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Loved the photos! We used to have a couple of hummingbird feeders on our patio a few years ago and I find them amazing and brazen like you said. I would usually just freeze so as not to scare them away and just follow them with my eyes and not move physically. Sometimes they would just hover in front of my face. Tell me that ability along with their size isn’t amazing! Thanks for sharing, blessings brother!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Beautiful pics! No.13 of 50 jumped out at me. The balance of the image, the bend of the branch. Very painterly . . .
    Had the feel of a Japanese ink drawing.
    (That’s from the viewpoint of a painter!😊)

    Liked by 3 people

  9. New Attraction at Kings Island Kentucky! The Flight of the Hummingbird!! Don’t ask your friends to take your picture because you will move too fast and be gone before they can catch you! 😁

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Dear Gary, Thank you for sharing your gift. This has to be a “calling.” Who has the patience for such a grand work?
    I share somewhat with these flighty creatures. In the last year I have had “hummingbird syndrome.” I’m blessed to go from one sweetness and fragrance of our Lord and His kingdom to another, knowing that I still miss some. Praise Him His blessings are not hid from His children but provided for us all. Blessings as you continue to provide substance and enjoy these tiny creatures. I look forward to your other blog post.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Well Francis, you have delved in the world of the hummingbirds and tasted the correlations of these little ones drink to your heavenly sweets in spending time with the Lord. You know about their speed and tenacity and ever changing colors in the sunlight. Those little chirpers sure play for keeps. The nectar is just an energy drink for their main course which is bugs. I am thinking there are many illustrations and lessons here. Thankyou for calling my photography a gift. I know anyone can buy a camera and press a button, but the learning curve from the button to an actual good photo can be quite a problem. I have figured out a few things anyway. I suppose the framing of the subject in the picture is as important as context is to a verse of scripture…something to ponder there. Someday we will all get quite a flight and land as well or better than those wee things

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I think those are great!! Love hummingbirds! In southwestern Nebraska (where I live) I’ve only spotted one and it was in my backyard last summer. I took a pathetic picture but it did provide good proof to my husband that we had one visit as you could tell that’s what it was!!😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you saw one Ailcia. Where there is one there is more usually. They have to have a pretty good reason to stay. They are on the picky side. Did yo know there are over 330 species of hummingbird…I knew there were a lot as I probably saw over 50 species in a migration resting area in a southern desert once.. I should find the pictures I took back in the film days, pre-internet..

      Liked by 1 person

  12. All I know about taking good phots is, first, I do not good ones. Second, one must be above all, patience, which I am not. Third, ignore the first two and keep trying, one out of thousand is better then none out of none.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ha, you are in the majority then. this is why point and shoot cameras with an SD card are a good option for many people. I grew up using a lot of film and figured I either needed to earn a lot more money to buy loads of film or just make sure each frame had a reasonable chance at being a “keeper”
      thanks for the honest comment.

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    1. Thanks Nancy. My frustration has been a pin point focus issue as well as getting high speed shots. When the photos I posted are blown up to a very large size then the issues are noticeable.
      I realize they are plenty good for a blog but not much else.
      However, i did more research and tried several several new ideas and came up with some great photos. Two are good enough to put up for sale on Alamy.com and several more on a free download site…Unsplash.com

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much. I’m using a 3ti canon with a 300 fixed lens mostly. For sitting birds I can use the 5x and 10x zoom button on the camera for a finer focus before shooting. The flying shots I studied where they usually fly and shoot bursts if they are even close to a spot I am focused on hoping to get something good. My eyes are going as well on the fine tuning.

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