Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tiny Dancers 2

How fast a hummingbird can flap it's wings depends on the bird's size. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds flap their wings about 55 times a second. That translates into an almost infinite number of possible wing positions, depending on what the bird is doing. With the hundreds (thousands?) of photos I have taken of hummingbirds over the years, I am not sure I ever caught one quite like this one with the right wing looking very much like a parallelogram. That wing with the feather shafts radiating outward is almost the only reason I kept this image.

I probably didn't notice at the time, but the tiny stone I put over the back "flower" on the feeder is visible in this picture. I do that to discourage visitors from hiding behind the bottle. Usually, I position the feeder so the stone is not visible from this camera angle.

Until I started working on this image in post processing, I didn't really think it was anything special, but now that I have finished it, I really like the intimate atmosphere this picture communicates. The ability to isolate one or two blossoms of the Torenia also seems to improve on the look of the flower. It does not look particularly good when you can see "mass quantities" (as Coneheads are prone to describing things) of Torenia blossoms. Speaking of which, How did they get the Conehead's Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtin to look so young in that insurance commercial that came out recently?

Another handsome (it's a male) tiny dancer. Come back next year when you have your ruby gorget and let me take some pictures. Oh, you don't think they return to the same place after traveling all the way to South America for the winter? Well, let me tell you a little story. [Oh, no! Not this one again!] Yeah, some of you may have heard it before, but bear with me for the sake of those who haven't.

I didn't believe the same tiny bird could fly all the way to South America, crossing the Gulf of Mexico twice in the process, and find it's way back to my house either. At one time, at our former home, we had a feeder hung from a piece of heavy fishing line on the side of the garage. After the hummingbirds left for the year, I took the feeder down, but left the string hanging there. The following year, I was a little slow in getting the feeders up and the hummingbirds were already back. When I saw a little hummer fly over to the string and inspect it, I knew it had been there the year before. It was the only way it could have known there was a feeder hanging on that string the year before.

I may still post a few more hummingbird pictures, but this is probably the last one which includes flowers. As a photographic aside, notice how the camera position (it's low elevation in reference to the subject) affects what the picture communicates. To me, part of the communication of this photo is that the hummingbird is supremely confident in sampling a flower right over my head. That is not really true, since I was using a telephoto lens and the bird was not actually over my head, but the impression still remains that the bird is supremely confident — and that almost is entirely due to the angle at which the picture was taken. So, I'm just saying, always consider the camera position in your compositions.

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