2023—Hummer Practice

I was practicing for my upcoming trip to Madera Canyon in Arizona to photograph hummingbirds, so you’d expect to see a Hummingbird in a post I call “Hummer Practice.” You would be wrong. It has been obscenely hot here (109 Sunday and 108 Saturday) and although I need to acclimate because we’ll have similar temperatures in Arizona, I have hardly been outside. I haven’t even been using Auto Capture because I didn’t want to subject my Nikon Z9 to such temperatures for long periods. Monday was much cooler so I finally decided to venture out to practice and fine tune shooting hummingbirds with flash. The birds have no choice but to be outside. And they have been taking advantage of the cooling fountains in my garden, bathing often during the day. So when I was standing at my camera waiting for the resident Anna’s Hummingbirds, the Bushtit Brigade arrived. They didn’t even mind that I was just a few feet away from them. The fountain has been their respite from the unrelenting heat. This female Bushtit waited her turn while the rest of the brigade began to splash around furiously. And, yes, a hummingbird did finally arrive (a female Black-chinned) and it gave me a chance to do some fine tuning to the flash settings, but she stayed close to the feeder so I didn’t get any shots of just her without the feeder in the image. It is actually easier for me to photograph a hummer at a flower than at a feeder because I do not want to include the feeder in the image but including the flower is fine. While a hummer is at a feeder, it is challenging to position it in the frame so that it is not too close to the edge, it is facing into the frame, and the feeder is not part of the image. When the Bushtit brigade arrived, I didn’t have to worry about the feeder at all.

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