Tuesday, August 18, 2015
I finally figured out what hummingbirds remind me of. When they scrunch themselves down like this, they very much remind me of those minions. Their tiny voices are not so different either. They can become very vocal when they are chasing another away from the feeder, but you have to be listening pretty carefully because they are not that loud.
The rope allows me to move the feeder, keeping it in the sunlight. I attached a small branch near the feeder to encourage the hummingbirds to land on it rather than the rope, but they don't seem to be getting the message.
I love these chiaroscuro-type photographs where there is a strong contrast between dark and light. My wife says it looks like I brought the hummingbird into a studio. I was disturbed by the green contamination on the belly and tail on many of the pictures. The feeder is several feet above the ground, but the green from the grass is still reflecting off the birds. Once I realized this was true, I laid down some white foam core, a thick white material, under the feeders to resolve the problem.
The trees that make up the background are far enough away across the yard that they become a simple wash of color with some of the brighter sunlit leaves creating a nice, soft blur of lighter color. This is about as far from the feeder as I can film the birds and have them in focus. From this distance away from the feeder, they are just too fast when they leave to keep them in the frame let alone in focus.
We have two feeders; one on the front porch and one hanging in the kitchen window in back. I moved this one from the back so they couldn't go back there and "cheat" on me. Having two feeders changed the dynamic somewhat. There is always one hummingbird that thinks it owns the feeder and will chase every other one off. That is why it is rare for me to photograph two in the same frame.
Believe it or not, this bird is actually watching me. You know that kind of a kissy sound people make to call a cat? I use that on the hummingbirds. After they realize you are not a threat, they will tend to land on the feeder like this one and just sit there sipping rather than fly in and out and hovering. To keep them from standing still all the time, I will make that sound, which causes them to stay flying most of the time. It doesn't work too well on the juvenile birds, though. They just sit there and look at you kind of stupid as though asking, "What the heck are you suppose to be doing?"