Last week we saw all kinds of stormy weather in Virginia, which did nothing to energize my soul, but did everything for the flowers on my deck. After the rains ended, one of my hibiscus plants went crazy with blooms (the other hibiscus seems to have a dormant state of mind - it is a stubborn plant and I've not seen a bloom on it since the first week). And so when the sun finally came out, I decided to bribe the hummingbirds: I moved the hibiscus plants directly under the feeder, hoping to lure the birds to my deck. Prior to and during the rain the feeder had not seen any action - so Jeff suggested that I replace the nasty water, which was a great idea considering that upon close inspection, the water had nasty crud floating in it. Note to self: sugar water must be changed weekly.
I realize that in the grand scheme of life, hibiscus plants and hummingbirds are pretty low on the list of exciting things. But for me, these are always a highlight of my summer - so on my list, they rate right up there. On Sunday, I decided to go on a bird watch. I took my book, my cushy seat cover, and two cameras out on the deck and I waited. And waited. And waited. I was almost ready to give up when all of a sudden... HUMMERS! We had more birds come to visit than I could keep track of. It was thrilling, and so worth the wait.
The following pictures were taken using my Pentax DSLR and my 70-300mm zoom lens (I had to get out the big stuff for this project!). I set the shutter on the auto click setting (I have no idea what that setting is called... it's the one where you push it down and it clicks over and over again), and then I focused the frame using the portrait setting to blur out the background. From there, I just waited for the birds to show up while I had the camera stuck to my eyeball (and yes, I am well aware of the fact that I am a dork to spend an entire afternoon looking through a camera lens waiting for a hummingbird sighting).
These are my three favorite photos:
Since Sunday, my deck has seen a ton of hummers. I can now sit at my kitchen table and watch them right up until dark. There is a breed of this bird that is turquoise in color. One summer, that breed was a constant companion. So far this summer, I've only seen one. So now my new goal is to get a picture of the turquoise hummingbird. I have no idea whether I will have the patience to wait and watch with a camera all summer long, but I might... it will depend on the weather (must be good) and my energy level (must be low) - two things that have to be in sync for the kind of patience that would be required for such a shot. The ideal photo would be of the turquoise hummingbird inside a peach hibiscus bloom - but I realize that is setting my goals a little high; I am not a good photographer, nor do I have the kind of patience that may be required to capture that shot. However, if some odd stroke of luck occurs, I will be sure to post the picture. Heck, if I were to get a picture of that, I would probably have it enlarged and framed just so that I could enjoy the beauty for the rest of my days.
To be honest, I really don't like birds at all. But these hummingbirds literally take my breath away. They truly enhance my summer days with their beauty and fragility. And in the grand scheme of my life - pretty things and beautiful flowers are very high on the list of things that make me smile.