One of the myriad interesting things about the Rocky Mountain west part of the United States is the seasonal changes. Sometimes the changes are drastic and quick, other times, they are slow and subtle. Every year, I say this, and every year - sometimes in July, sometimes in August, there will be a day that feels like autumn is knocking at the door. That is not a bad thing, because it is my favorite season, but occasionally it sneaks up on me. Last week, our low temperatures were all in the 40-49 degree range, fahrenheit. Our friend, Dianne, in southern Colorado, said it was 38 degrees where she lives one day last week. Just little friendly nudges from the coming season.
Which got me thinking about hummingbirds. These extraordinary creatures stay with us at 7,700 feet elevation roughly from mid-April through mid-September. They are seasonal joys, and it is melancholy, even sad when they leave. We love their presence. It also occurred to me that of all the things I had photographed this year, I had not done any hummingbird photo sessions. This week was a fine time for that. As a photographer, photographing them is challenging to my patience, my ability to focus the camera, and my memory. I can see the incredible motion but somehow forget how fast they fly, and how fast the shutter speed must be to really catch motion. During the first of my five sessions in the purple sage and at the feeders, I was using one of my presets - 1/250. That might work for some things, but not hummingbirds. I boosted it to 1/1,600, since that would give a balance of motion and stillness that I like.
Although watching does provide some knowledge about their behavior, I am not entirely sure why every single one of these birds is a female rufous. (It is possible some of these are juvenile males who have not yet developed the brilliant rufuos throat.) They do guard plants and feeders alike, but I am uncertain as to why they seemed to be the only hummingbirds I was able to photograph in the purple/blue sage (Salvia pachyphylla).
I love the way they hover and use their wings to balance as they feed on the flowers.
Luckily, the light was bright enough to show the translucent wings without added flash.
If a hummingbird can have an attitude, this lady does. Pretty darned proud, I would say!
Great to hear from Stacey, M Fred, Christina, Connie, Wayne, Lucia, Steve, and Jean and Sam last week. I appreciate all of you for reading!
until next Monday,
a passion for the [email protected]
Keywords: birds, Blacks Crossing Photography, Daryl A. Black, hummingbirds, nature, New Mexico, photography, purple sage, rufous hummingbirds, sage, Salvia pachyphylla, Taos
Such minute creatures and such feisty beauty. Your photos show each feather clearly - a real feat. Didn't know that sage was the same as salvia - will plant it on the lakeshore next spring for our hummers here in the valley at 6ft elevation and 100 degrees. Quite a tolerance range!.
Wonderful pictures, Daryl! I can’t believe that you were able to photograph the hummingbirds like that.
You Writers of the Purple Sage !!
What fun, any of these pics will make a great card! Our hummers are all over our Trumpet vine.
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