Aerial ballet

I am back in California for the week, and had some time today to wander through the Berkeley Botanical Gardens.  One species of manzanita, one of the common chaparral plants here in California, was in flower, and the hummingbirds had staked it out.  A very territorial male Anna’s Hummingbird was buzzing the flowers right above my head, giving me great views of his foraging attempts.  But although I took about 50 photos of him from all angles, I never managed to get the sun reflection just right to light up his brilliant magenta throat.

Male Anna Hummingbird, Calypte anna

Male Anna Hummingbird, Calypte anna

Male Anna's Hummingbird

It looks like the bird is balancing on its tail in some extreme balletic movement as it hovers in front of the flowers.

male anna's hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird is one of the most common hummers in the western U.S., and when flowering shrubs are blooming in the chapparal, you tend to see lots of these birds.  I have written more about them in a previous post — so go here if you want to read more about the “bird named for a Duchess”.

9 thoughts on “Aerial ballet

  1. These are wonderful shots, Sue (in my book, any shots of hummingbirds in flight are to be commended). Were you shooting in some kind of burst mode? As for the light, I think if is mostly a matter of luck when you get the perfect light for what you are hoping to achieve. That’s what keeps us photographing the same things over and over again, in pursuit of the elusive perfection as we imagine it in our minds.

    • No, I didn’t try multiple frames per second, but I was shooting at about 1/400 or faster, with an ISO of 200 at f5.6. Fortunately there was enough light to use the fast shutter speed. I found that I do not have a quick trigger finger. I couldn’t press the shutter fast enough when the bird turned toward the light–very frustrating.

  2. Beautiful as always, Sue. I saw quite a few Anna’s when I visited my daughter in San Diego. They are gorgeous. We saw Costa’s, too, I believe. I have ruby-throated hummers in my backyard all the time here in Florida, but I’ve never been able to photograph one, even when I had a better camera. You rock! That last photo is gorgeous!

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