You know it’s going to be bad when the blue-belly lizards are basking on the patio right in front of the window where I work. I think they’re looking for shade.
Two of the younger members of the flock of dark-eyed juncos that empty the feeder on a twice/daily basis. They seem to make it their goal to deplete the supplies by nightfall.
A surefire method to get several of these is to move the feeder from its customary place, then arrange the camera, tripod and chair directly under the original feeder position. I didn’t do this on purpose.
Having gotten hundreds of shots of the bird from one side, I wanted it feeding from the other. In order to force it to eat from only one opening, I had to plug up the other holes. When it found short evergreen sprigs (closest things I could find that fit) emerging from these holes, it had a moment of surprise which I did not manage to film.
But the flybys, which sound like a giant bumblebee in your ear, might start up again as I get ready for some more shooting later in the afternoon when the light is not so harsh.
So how many things are wrong with this photo?
Yesterday afternoon he showed up and perched on a tomato cage. I haven’t been shooting hummingbirds very long, so this particular situation unnerved me. Usually, he bobs up and down at the feeder, then zooms away. That I can deal with.
He was distracted by his mate, I suspect, and looked as if he might raise that cap of iridescent feathers on top of his head any minute. And he kept on staying fairly still, showing me first one side, then the other, then straight on.
After a bit, I checked the camera display. Oops. Earlier, the feeder was in the shade, and all the settings were for that. By the time I corrected, he was deep into the feeder.
Overexposed. Dark shadow. The cage. The aphid at his feet. Not sharp enough.
I’m lucky he returns many times every day. For sure, I need the practice.
Nepenthes attenboroughii, named after Sir David, is capable of putting away rats. Not wee mousies now and then, but . . . well, there’s a photo. The accompanying video shows remarkable footage of how the plant produces the nectar-filled pitchers.
Less than a minute after I cleaned out the feeder and put fresh nectar in, he checked out the results.
We did make progress today. He allowed me to get within about two feet, and didn’t mind that I kept opening the screen door to go in and out. Still no sign of the missus today.
Friday, he was contorting his neck this way and that, fluffing up his body feathers, then lifted the ones on his head like a shiny cap. This seemed bizarre till I spotted the missus sitting primly off to the side. Aha! But so far, he is lord of the feeder, and nothing has tried to dispute his claim.
Part of the morning was spent moving the feeder around to get a better angle on the bird that comes by every 15 to 30 minutes. Most of the sites were in the sun, and I got a couple of good shots, so a few minutes ago, I hung it back in the shade, got my magazine and sat back to wait. Sure enough, here he comes. As I adjust the settings for shade and mess with the ISO, he buzzes by, inches away from my face and camera.
Scary, but very cool indeed.
The wind has been blowing most of the day, and my eyes are itchy and feel gritty. Is it because it’s Friday after another week of PhotoShopping numerous photos and therefore, simple eyestrain, or is there stuff blowing from Santa Cruz?
Enough work for now. Tonight I get to choose between Coraline, Slumdog Millionaire and a British series, Pie in the Sky for a dinner movie. The latter seems promising for supper: the cop is also a chef.
Just before my usual wakeup time, I tend to have the most aggravating dreams, possibly to serve to do just that, get me up. I haven’t had a test dream in a while, maybe a couple of months. This time, it was history that I hadn’t read.
And this time, it was particularly vivid to the point of specific questions and glimpses of the text that I had neglected. Pictures of metal machinery. The actual content of the text, however, eluded me. Most of my test dreams occur during my college years, but inevitably, my kids are in class with me. They hadn’t read the material either. We had probably been watching movies instead of studying. (But they don’t have these dreams.)
Question number 1: What age are we studying?
Omg. How could I fake this one without looking ridiculous. Machinery. Iron Age? Industrial Age? Could not decide. One of the classmates brought over a little card that he placed on a shelf. It had no answers. My mind held no historical facts. At least I had physically made it to class instead of being lost in a maze of unfamiliar buildings. At least I knew what the text kind of looked like, which meant I had opened the book at some point.
Oh, and the teacher said the exam would be 50% of our overall grade. I did what any sensible person would have done.
I woke up.
Sporadically for the past few days, I’ve been trying to get closer to the hummingbirds at the feeder. It’s shady at the usual feeder spot, so from time to time, I would move it to the only conveniently sunny area, which is on the tomato cages.
As you can see, some of the underachieving tomatoes are nowhere near reaching the modest height of these cages, so they may as well be put to good use.
I set up the laptop, managed to get a power supply going, and got my Pepsi too since this was going to take some time. But I was not really prepared for this little fellow to pose for several minutes while I tried frantically to get the right settings for the camera. The shots showing the lovely ruby throat were too blurry. No worries, I plan to get out there again in just a few minutes.