BASICS: "Hummingbirds.....where is the person, I ask, who, on observing this glittering fragment of the rainbow, would not pause, admire, and turn his mind with reverence..." (J. J. Audubon).
This is a blog about my summer life at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary, at my winter garden, Calypso, in the Bahamas, and aspects of life in general.
This private sanctuary is now permanently closed to the general public, as a result of a lawsuit brought by a neighbor. Only my friends and personal guests may visit (

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fred on his favorite perch, 40 feet away but close-up

Fred is the dominant male hummingbird at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary. His favorite perch, where he spends more than 50% of his time, is near the dead tip-top of a red maple tree, that's probably about 50 feet high. From this spot he can watch several of his feeders, but above all the whole of the western valley beneath him. Luckily though the maple is tall, the base is about 30 feet below the upper garden and the decks. But that still means he's 20 feet above me, and my closest approach is 40 feet away. Furthermore, he's silhouetted against the silvery sky. The maple is also somewhat concealed behind a tall oak. However I've found that I've a clear view of this perch from the side deck of the back cabin, below which the ground falls abruptly down more than 50 feet. Nevertheless even from this vantage point he's still silhouetted against the sky. Furthermore, because he's 40 feet from me, I have to use my 1.5 X teleconverter lens on my Vixia G30, in addition to the standard 20X zoom plus the 2X digital zoom, for a total zoom of 60X! Even if I carefully brace my arms against the armrests of a good chair, there's still too much camera shake at that high magnification. So I have to use a tripod (my trusty, and slightly rusty after 20 years, old Bogen). To reduce the silhouetting problem, I have to get the viewpoint quite high above the deck (about 10 feet) so I've put the fully extended tripod on top of an old rather wobbly table that's on the deck. From this higher viewpoint (about level with the hummer) I can see the bird outlined not against the sky but against the woods on the other side of the valley. I have to climb on top of this ricketty table to set the focus. Once focussed, I can wait a short while for him to show up, always exactly at the same spot, and then press the "roll" button. Here's the first result. It's not quite in focus on the bird (the depth of field is only a few inches), and the lighting is not good (the sun was near it's zenith and slightly behind the bird) but not too bad for an initial attempt. You can see the ruby-red throat, though it's not exactly flashing, because of the bad lighting. He sometimes takes off briefly to catch an insect, out of view, but often quickly returns. 2X slo-mo.

1 comment:

  1. Well done. He's a real cutie-pie. I trust you're careful with that rickety table.