This is definitely not a month to dawdle. You wouldn’t think the loss of only two days would be that stressful when it comes to blogging, but trust me, IT DOES! This, of course, is more of a byproduct of my procrastination than a deliberate curse on my quota obligations by Pope Gregory XIII. A large portion of blogs lately have been focused on our birding trip to Texas back in November 2013. Figured I would break from that theme and give you something completely different. Are you ready for something new? Okay, you asked it… today’s new topic is …
A bird! (hehehehe). I didn’t really deceive you – this particular bird picture was taken in July of 2014 in a completely different state. Yep, this master of the air currents was shot on our trip out to North Carolina. On our way, we spent some time at Biltmore Estate. If you recall, I was in a bind back in 2014 and pulled out a post covering the Mockingbird that was also shot at that time (link here). Oh the days when posts used to come out in the same year the pictures were actually taken.
Hit the jump to see a few more shots of suspended motion.
The sad thing about this particular post is the fact it is not only more than a couple of years behind, it is now officially one visit late. We took another trip out East recently and was able to visit Biltmore a second time. Pretty sure this second visit was devoid of Hummingbirds so very happy these shots came out so well. For those of you familiar with the Vanderbilt home, this particular Hummingbird was shot in the far left side of the flower garden – to the left and down from the actual mansion. If flowers are your thing, this is the place to be. Gorgeous flowers wherever you look.
This Ruby-Throated Hummingbird was busy filling up on the sweet nectar out of the ruby hued colored flowers -thought it was quite fitting. Linda was off taking flower pictures allowing me some extra time to practice my bird in flight techniques. There is no better bird out there that will challenge your skills than this speedster. Being open and honest (cause that’s the way I roll). these shots you see here were scattered about hundreds of ummm, well, let’s just say the proverbial bit bucket dumpster filler. Thank god for the digital age or I’d have to sell one of my dogs to medical sciences just to afford the processing fees.
So there I stood alone in the Biltmore flower garden whipping the 200-400mm Beast left and right and up and down trying to freeze this spastic beauty. I was running at a higher than desired ISO 800-1600 due to the lighting conditions which inherently brought some grain with it, but it actually doesn’t look to bad – will probably smooth these out a bit more for printing and might even boost the saturation on the flowers a tad just to pop them a bit more. After a while, I was able to be more predictive about the Hummer’s flight path taking that variable out of the equation. Then it was just a matter of getting the center focus point on target (99% of the time I’m running with a single focus point because the Beast has a tendency to drift if given too many focus options). Nothing like a good arm exercise to get the blood pumping. People ask me why I workout so much – the answer is always “to make it easier in the field… and to eat whatever I like”.
After wading through hundreds and hundreds of shots in the digital darkroom, these images here made the cut as the best of the set. A pretty good haul for an hour or so of experimenting. Can’t wait until the summer months come back to see if my skills have improved trying to freeze these hyper birds – there’s always the fallback of just waiting until they take a rest…
All I have for you tonight folks. Hope you enjoyed the shots – if nothing else, a break from all the Texas birds. Come to think about it, thanks to a trip we took in January, even those Texas shots are now a visit late – sigh. On the bright side, it sure is nice doing winter birding from my den!