Yesterday we picked up several types of flowering plants at a nursery. I wanted to try a technique I learned from Tricia Booker’s photography blog. She explained how she placed flowers near a hummingbird feeder to attract the birds and provide a backdrop for her photographs. With a few additional items, I felt this idea could work for me too!
The most convenient place for my tripod was the screened porch. That meant placing a feeder opposite the porch door, just outside the landing. So my husband and I stacked several large, abandoned flowerpots full of garden soil. Then we pushed a tall shepherd’s hook into the top flowerpot and secured it to the landing with a bracket. I hung a hummingbird feeder on the shepherd’s hook, then all I had to do was arrange the new flowers under and around the feeder. I used bricks and wooden blocks to adjust the height.
While I arranged the flowers, a curious hummingbird appeared two feet in front of my face, hovering for about 5 seconds! It was a juvenile male. He claimed the feeder as his own and spent the rest of the day checking out the flowers, feeding, and staying alert for interlopers. He even objected to bumblebees landing on his flowers, chasing and jabbing at them with his beak. Throughout the afternoon, hummingbird fights broke out that included body slamming and frantic chirping. No casualties resulted, although an adult male was seen rapidly diving (or falling) into ground ivy. When he came to his senses, he buzzed around under the ivy until he found his way out. He seemed unharmed, except maybe for his pride!
My new setup was a success, allowing me to shoot partially hidden and giving my hummingbird photos a flowery ambiance. I hope to try again when bright sunlight will allow for a faster shutter speed. Have you learned tips for photographing hummingbirds or other birds? Please share your success in the comment section below!
All photos: Canon 60D, Manual, RAW format, metering mode; center-weighted average.
Photos 1-4 and 6-10, ISO 3200, 200mm, f/11, 1/320.
Photos 5 and 11: ISO 2400, 200mm, f/11, 1/250.