If you’re birder who likes to photograph your feathered friends, herons and cranes are great subjects because they’ll stand still for you, like this green heron perched on a navigational marker:
Lately, having photographed all manner of standing herons, cranes, egrets, etc., I’ve been trying to improve my birds-in-flight photography skills. It’s a work in progress. Here’s a juvenile white ibis.
Ibises always look goofy to me — even in flight. Look how its legs dangle! But the goofy, relatively slow-moving ibis is a a snap to photograph compared to hummingbirds.
I’ve been staking out our firecracker bush trying to get a good photo of hummingbirds. I’ve managed some half-decent ones of hummingbirds perched, but they’re so quick — it’s tough to get a clear shot of a hummingbird on the wing. This was almost a good shot:
Here’s a better one:
Still not a great shot, but it’s an improvement! I’ll keep trying. Even if I never get anything Albatrossity-worthy, it’s an amusing hobby. I see many more amazing images in the pursuit of a good shot than I’ll ever capture, and that’s the best part.
Sister Golden Bear
Reposting from the end of an almost dead thread below:
If people are looking for some entertainment, a friend of mine just did a fantastic online production of “MacBeth.”
Not sure whether they used Zoom or something else, but they did great job of adapting it to today’s environment. (It wasn’t a wall of faces, rather they switched views to show only the actor/actors who were speaking, at times approximating a two-shot.)
It’s available online for another three days.
Your photos get better and better! And I’m very pleased to share that my new hummingbird feeder has finally attracted some birds! Well, one so far. I haven’t gotten a photo yet because this is the first time I’ve seen one at this feeder, but I’m really happy.
The little things bring some joy these days, no pun intended.
Birding ain’t easy and I’m not (yet) patient enough to have developed my BIF game. But on the topic, this bald eagle set from a fellow who lives in Alaska are some of the best bird action photos I’ve ever seen. They really, really want that fish.
Legs just dangling away, hehe
In my limited experience once they find you, the little hummers will be regular feeder customers. They’re a consistent source of entertainment, and so feisty!
@trollhattan: Fresh fish! Great photos.
That’s the best thing about digital cameras. You can practice and practice and not waste one bit of film. Just delete and move on.
@trollhattan: Wow, amazing!
Wow! That second to last shot shows a very furrowed brow. Didn’t know birds even had them.
In celebration of the greatest athletic achievement by a man on a psychedelic journey, No Mas and artist James Blagden proudly present the animated tale of Dock Ellis’ legendary LSD no-hitter.
My aunt in West Virginia had a feeder hanging at the end of her front porch and we once counted a dozen birds jockeying for position, and they were buzzbombing each other. Very loud, scolding, and bossy! I do enjoy seeing them, even if it’s just one at a time.
Zoom with your feet. The closer you get, the better the shots.
In seven years, I’ve gotten better with technique…..but sensing how to be at the right place at the right time with everything ready is the most important skill.
@trollhattan: Now that’s how you earn your meal! And the halibut wasn’t a bad size either.
@Sister Golden Bear: I’ll be watching!
@donnah: Our hummies are vicious little buggers at feeding frenzy time at the height of summer. I’ve seen them kick each other in the head with their tiny little feet to take over perches at the feeder!
Such fascinating creatures. We are surrounded by small feathered dinosaurs.
It took eight years but they found their man.
All three of my hives have queens again! It looks like I was off by a week on when I committed accidental regicide as there’s spotty brood.
Bees fly so they’re sort of like birbs.
They’re not pictures of hummingbirds, but a while ago I pointed my gopro at my feeder and recorded in slo-mo for a while and then clipped out the boring bits. Here’s one of the videos I made:
The thing I didn’t know until watching them slowed down is how they lead with their heads (eg, if one is going to move right, the head moves right and then the body follows).
The ibis looks like it might be dropping from the sky or flying.
Wonderful photos. We saw a Green Heron stalking along the side of a couple of ponds at the local botanical garden this morning; it was almost as photogenic as Betty’s photo up above.
J R in WV
Lovely pics, Betty. Part of the trick with hummers is you need a high shutter speed, which means a more open lens, which means lower depth of field, a narrow width of highest focus.
I guess higher ISO setting could help with that paradox… I’ve never done any good with hummers and cameras. Soaring birds, like hawks, are different. Owls are tough because you usually see them after the light is fading… plus they see you before you see them, and take off as you get closer.
Wife once saw an eagle take a trout out of the Arkansas river west of Canyon City… amazing scenery along US 50, huge rocks and cliffs. It was very early spring, so pretty cold still up there.
Bees, birds and Macbeth. Quite a thread.
@J R in WV:
Another thing a lot of photographers do with hummingbirds is to use flash. If you get most of the light from the flash, the flash speed matters more than the shutter speed, and you can get ultra-fast flash speeds.
And then there was…MacBird!
On the theme of beginner bird photography, I have a set of photos from Merritt Island last year, and I should get off my butt and submit them to On the Road. I had a clip-on zoom lens for my phone that I’d gotten for a rocket launch, and I got some okay pics, and mostly just enjoyed seeing some unfamiliar birds.
Hummingbirds! When you actually see one in front of you, they seem uncanny, almost unearthly.
Hummingbirds at my feeder
(plus one hooded oriole who _thinks_ he’s a hummingbird)
Oh, Betty, every time I read a post of yours I can’t help but wish you lived in a saner state than one that elects people like DeSantis and Rick Scott. But then, I realize we’d lose your photos of the very special critters that live in and around your swamp, especially the birds. (You didn’t by any chance buy your land from Christopher J. DeCarlo’s grandson or granddaughter — Christopher J. DeCarlo was a notorious swampland salesperson when I was a little kid growing up in the toxic hell of New Jersey. His ads were aired regularly on the radio. Amazingly, the word “swamp” was never mentioned.)
Truthfully, it would be terrible if everyone lived in the “good” blue states. And in states like Florida, which could conceivably go for Biden this year, every vote will count. So, definitely don’t move until November 4th or 5th. And keep the photos coming, they are much appreciated. Green herons are beautiful.
Dorothy A. Winsor
I love the bird pictures, but I’m driven to tell a story about when my brother briefly taught science in high school. He lectured for a while on how birds reproduce, but apparently he wasn’t clear enough for the 15 year olds. When he finished, a boy raised his hand and said, “Mr. D, I just want to know one thing. Do bird do it?” At that point, my brother realized he could have saved himself some time and just announced that birds do, indeed, do it.
After that, he got an RN and eventually an MD and worked as an obstetrician. So reproduction was a constant theme, I guess.
So, a few/half dozen threads ago Goku raised the whole JK Rowling thing and I went looking for more info and…goddamn. SarahZ has a great breakdown of the Tragedy of Terfs/Undeath of the Author here:
Rowling is definitely ensconced in “fingers plunged firmly in ears lalalala no reason or empathy shall enter my Fortress of Self-Imposed Ignorance on Bigotry Lane” terfdom. The fact that she acknowledges transwomen are frequently targets of violence and abuse, and are not a threat, and then insists on denying this same persecuted group the safety if using the appropriate restrooms is so fucking gross. No, cishet men are not lurking in huddled, sweaty masses in women’s fitting rooms waiting for a chance to strike because some women are now allowed to legally claim their gender. The only cishet men (or even women) who would put themselves out there publicly to family/friends/neighbors/employers as being trans/non-bi/GNC as an excuse to harass or assault people in restrooms are the same sickos who’d do it anyway. Because nasty entitled psychos gonna psycho.
Meanwhile, transwomen deserve and NEED the same opportunity as cis women to duck in the ladies’ and get a break from that sleazebag from Accounting, or at the bar. The actual predators.(#notallmen #notallaccountants)
Tldr/w: Ms. Rowling can go fuck herself with a flaming Quidditch broom.
J R in WV
Great photos, esp the oriole, a beautiful birb. We’ve seen other birds at hummer feeders, sapsuckers esp. One really pretty one, I forget the name, it’ll come back to me just after the edit window slams shut.
@J R in WV:
We sometimes get woodpeckers at our hummingbird feeder. It’s comical how they wrap their bodies under the feeder because they’re to large for it.
@J R in WV: Hooded orioles are mostly fruit eaters, but their beaks are tapered enough that they can eat from typical hummingbird feeders. They often look pretty ridiculous while doing so, but don’t seem to mind.
They’re actually harder to photograph than the hummingbirds are; the little ones don’t mind people as long as you don’t make any sudden moves, but the orioles will fly off at even the slightest sound or motion.
@Melusine: I’ve mulled doing a thread on the JKR controversy, but all I ever come up with is “aaaargh.”
@dmsilev: Those are awesome! What settings did you use?
@Dorothy A. Winsor:
He missed an opportunity. He could have shifted into,
Birds do it, bees do it
Even educated fleas do it…
The Astronomy Picture Of the Day is about Earth and its inhabitants today.
Eyeball to Eyeball
I’ve been working on birds in flight pics with a micro 4/3 Panasonic and 45-150 (2x to 6x) zoom. 95% pics of sky. Likewise I’m glad digital film is free. Patience, patience, patience dammit. A couple weeks ago a bald eagle perched in a tree across the river about 200 feet away. The perch is popular with osprey and eagles. I’ve watched them dive on fish from there so I’m thinking “Perfect!”. I had just sat down in a folding chair so I held my camera in my lap with my thumb on the power switch for an hour. Nothing but preening. Relaxed into enjoying the scenery and at hour 2 got up to leave. Eagle departs tree on perfect flight path. Next Time!
@Sister Golden Bear:
Thank you for this ?
@jeffreyw: Yowzah! Great shot! I’ve caught ants and miller moths at our hummie feeders, but never a praying mantis!
They are amazing
@jeffreyw: Showoff It is a pretty nice picture though. It reminds me of the ones that General Stuck took and that’s a great honor.
@Betty Cracker: SLR (Nikon D7000) with a 300 mm lens and a fast shutter speed, typically around 1/1600. No flash. I tried faster shutter speeds, but found that leaving a bit of blur in the wings made the photos seem to better reflect the reality.
and, of course, a lot of discarded photos for every decent one.
Dorothy A. Winsor
@Brachiator: I try to picture the reactions of the class if he’d done that. LOL
@MattF: Zooks! He gets around!
Thanks very much. APOD is always cool, but that’s great.
@JPL: Yeak, we all miss Stuck. We used to post hummer shots at each other. Canon V Nikon!
Sister Golden Bear
The only silver lining in this is how the cast of the Potter movies had been so vocal about their support for trans people, as have Potter fans, who’ve basically told her Potter belongs to us now and our Potterverse is trans supporting.
Sister Golden Bear
@Miss Bianca: @rikyrah:
My good friend, Rachel, plays various secondary roles, including being one of the weird sisters (she’s on the left).
Besides being hugely multi-talented (she’s also a musician and photographer—although no bird photos), she’s also trans and one of the few trans women who’s comfortable doing both women’s and men’s roles. She did both in her two seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She’s starring in an upcoming movie, but sadly filming was just about to start when the quarantine hit, and she’s not sure when it’ll resume.
One of our hummingbird feeders hangs about 10 feet outside the window behind the computer I am typing this on. My camera is normally on the computer desk so I have been able to take hundreds of hummingbird pics playing with combinations of lighting, time of day, ISO setting, shutter speed, f-stop and then whatever feeble post-production image massaging I can do in iPhoto. Out of all those, I have one picture I really love and that’s of a perched bird. Lots of “OK” pictures but only one I really, really like.
I know I need a better (read: more expensive) camera but “…a poor workman…” blah, blah, blah.
Anyway, you just keep shooting away and I’ll do the same.
We have recently had a goldfinch couple “adopt” a feeder on our small balcony as their favorite restaurant. I cannot tell you how much pleasure their numerous daily visits bring to me and the Mr. in these unsettling times.
@Betty Cracker: An appropriate response – says it all!