Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

August 31, 2010

Hummingbirds without Feeders

Filed under: backyard, Birds, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, favorite places, technique — richditch @ 7:37 pm
Costa's Hummingbird at flowers

Costa's Hummingbird at flowers

Recently there was a discussion about photos of hummingbirds taken at feeders on a nature photography web site. The original question was why a posted image showing three hummingbirds at a feeder didn’t get much response from viewers. Responses pointed out that most people prefer seeing birds in natural settings that don’t show the “hand of man” by including the feeder.

But I was surprised that some of the people who commented took it for granted that feeders were used to attract the hummingbirds which were carefully photographed to not show the feeder:

“I think we all realize that to get hummingbirds you usually need a feeder to draw them in”

“it seems that most HB photos are taken with some sort of attraction to get the hummers in range”

It is probably true that most hummingbird photos are taken at feeders, and often at elaborate outdoor “studio” setups, but it is not true that feeders are a requirement. All these images were taken of hummingbirds in central Arizona away from feeders.

Lead image: Costa’s Hummingbird at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, 4/12/05, Nikon D70, 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC14E (1.4x), ISO 200, 1/125th second @ f/11, fill flash with SB-800.

Costa's Hummingbird

Costa's Hummingbird

Yes, we have two hummingbird feeders in our yard, and we have Costa’s around every day of the year. I just sit out on the patio and see if any will come sit within camera range.

Costa’s Hummingbird, backyard, Nikon D70, 300/2.8 plus TC20E (2x), 7/30/05, ISO 500, 1/80th second @ f/8, fill flash from SB-800.

Costa's Hummingbird

Costa's Hummingbird

My wife’s agave plants are favorite perches, and I liked this small-in-the-frame composition that showed some color from the flowers in the garden. Taken about one month after getting my first digital SLR.

Costa’s Hummingbird, backyard, Nikon D70, 300/2.8 plus TC20E (2x), 12/23/04, ISO 640, 1/60th second @ f/8.

Costa's Hummingbird

Costa's Hummingbird

Costa’s Hummingbird, backyard, Nikon D200, 300/2.8 plus TC20E (2x), 4/15/08, ISO 640, 1/30th second @ f/5.6.

Costa's Hummingbird

Immature Costa’s Hummingbird, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Nikon D200, 300/2.8 plus TC20E (2x), 5/15/08, ISO 320, 1/30th second @ f/8, fill flash from SB-800.

Costa's Hummingbird with pollen

Costa’s Hummingbird, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Nikon D200, 300/2.8 plus TC20E (2x), 5/28/09, ISO 400, 1/800th second @ f/5.6.

I’ve stuck with a single species (like everyone east of the Mississippi has to do) and tried to show some variety in perches, location, and composition.

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2 Comments »

  1. Amazing photos!!

    Comment by Lindy — September 1, 2010 @ 7:58 am

  2. An impressive Hummingbird series. I enjoyed them all very much.

    Comment by denise ippolito — September 10, 2010 @ 10:18 am


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