Pissing Hummingbirds

A Finnish friend of a friend has a funny expression. Its used when our actions seem insignificant and inconsequential. Instead of the tired old line “like a drop in the bucket” her Finnish phrase makes me laugh out loud. She says “Its like a mosquito pissing in the ocean” Well –– this story is about pissing hummingbirds.

Colorado photographers

On this one, I did some “painting” and other artistic enhancements. All the others are true photographic representations.
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Like in a theatrical ballet production, the tiny performer seems to be asking for applause.

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For me, the funniest part of “a mosquito pissing in the ocean” is conjuring up the mental image of what that would look like. And how big of a drop would that be anyway. I picture a tiny mosquito flying over a vast sea toward the setting sun dropping its liquid load. Is it possible that even one living creature would notice? Could I possibly photograph the event?

Then I picture that tiny drop descending down down into the Pacific (I’m more familiar with the Pacific than other oceans). When it finally joins its obese relative, there is no parade – no welcoming committee – no splash at all.

Whoa, is that not the epitome of insignificant?

Photographing hummingbirds last week was a real exercise in patience. I’ve always loved hummingbirds — I let their air-show capture me — I surrender to their hypnotic spell.

While studying painting in college, I drew a lady hummingbird in her nest keeping warm her eggs. Every day after class, I’d make a new draft of my friend and her offspring-to-be. It was a sad day when one of those nasty squawking crows ate the eggs and halted my art project.

And I’ve photographed hummingbirds too. I’ve shot them on film and captured their flight with earlier digital cameras. But up until now, I never saw them pissing. Fact is, I still haven’t seen them pissing. Their movement is so abrupt that my total concentration was spent on getting them in sharp focus. I didn’t notice any piss when I reviewed images on the camera’s LCD screen. But I did notice an unusual number of failed attempts: delete-delete-delete. It was back in my light-lab at the computer screen that I was first wowed by hummingbird piss. Scroll down through the artistic ones to witness miniature foul urine.

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Denver Hummingbird photographers

As the light level was low, I used two SB900 Speed-lights to illuminate the hummingbird. One light mounted on the camera was bounced off of a reflective surface while the other light, held by my top notch assistant and sister Sandee was aimed directly at the hummingbird.

Hummingbird Denver Photography

 

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It was refreshing to get away from work for a few days. My son Levi and I visited a place I first saw when I was about his age — my sister and brother-in-law’s mountain cabin. Sandee and Tom lost the original Swanson family retreat in the 1996 Buffalo Creak Fire. And now, 20 years later, their new self-built cabin is a quiet paradise. For them, the fire had a fortunate outcome. In the olden days, an endless parade of dust-making campers trucks and other vehicles passing by. But now, the Buffalo Creak Road is now open only to mountain bikers. I’d like to do a complete article on their cabin called “Castleview” in the future. But this story is about hummingbirds.

Yes, This story is dedicated to gossamer elegance. This post is about a tiny creature that migrates all the way to Central America during our winter. And then comes back to the same homes and cabins visited during the previous year.

Unlike many articles posted on this blog, readers won’t read boring paragraphs devoted to search engine optimization (SEO). This story is devoid of the typical word phrases like executive portrait, people photographer, or commercial photographers in Colorado. There won’t be any descriptions of corporate photographers, industrial photographers or fashion photographers in Denver. Readers of this blog will find it refreshing to know that they won’t have to read lengthy diatribes the true meaning of commercial photography or advertising photography.

But this story, of course is all about pissing hummingbirds. So lets get back to the pictures.

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Denver hummingbird photographers

The strong detail of the previously posted images was in-part due to electronic strobe light.
But starting with this one, the remaining photographs were made with available light only. My aim was to capture the translucent wings.

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Notice the narrow depth of field on this one. Focus is dissolving on both wings. With a shutter speed of 1/8000 second and the ISO dialed up to 10,000, the aperture was f2.0.

Denver Photographer of birds bird photographer in Denver Denver Photographer of Birds Colorado Bird Photographer 11_Hummingbird110

Denver photographer DeCroce did not see the Hummingbird pissing in real-time. It was only when the images were downloaded to the computer that the piss was discovered.

Denver photographer DeCroce did not see the pissing hummingbird in real-time. It was only when the images were downloaded to the computer that the piss was discovered.

Pissing Hummingbird Photographers

“Pissing Hummingbird In Flight” was captured by Denver photographer DeCroce. Who knew that capturing photographs of pissing hummingbirds could be so much fun.

 

Fighting Hummingbird Photographers in Denver

After hours of photographing Hummingbirds, I was finally fortunate to film a fight in flight. The red neck hummingbird was the aggressor. He’s also the one who makes that purring sound.

From the hundreds of good shots, selecting the final images to post was tedious. What makes this one interesting is the injuries on this hummingbird

From the hundreds of good shots, selecting the final images to post was tedious. What makes this one interesting is the injuries on this hummingbird’s beak —presumably due to confrontations with that mean red neck hummingbird.
A more scientific possibility is reprinted here from Wikipedia. “Upon maturity, males of one species, Phaethornis longirostris, the long-billed hermit, appear to be evolving a dagger-like weapon on the beak tip as a secondary sexual trait to defend mating areas.”

Denver Photographer of Gossamer Beauty

This gossamer beauty is my favorite.

 

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