Hummingbirds and Salvia - Kathryn Delany

September 2018

A few weeks ago I managed to capture a tiny Anna's Hummingbird in my very young flower garden.

When I planted the garden in late spring I was determined to have plants to attract birds, particularly hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.

With that in mind I planted 3 Salvia plants, some Black-eyed Susans, Crocosmia, Daylily, Echinacea (Coneflower), and Lavendars. Some plants did well some sort of! For a year one result I am pretty happy.

And then the hummingbird(s) started to visit. Yes! success. I believe this little one is a female.

Some facts

~ Hummingbirds are among the smallest bird measuring 2  - 5 inches in length.

They weigh from 0.07 oz and up. The Annas male weighs around 0.15oz and the female 0.14oz.

Their wings beat around 12 beats per second to over 80 per second - depending on how small they are.

They have been measure at flying at up to 34 mph! Which is why it is really quite hard to photograph them. 

The male Anna's hummingbird is the one with the colorful feathers which are iridescent.

The Aztec God of War - Huitzilopochtii is often depicted as a hummingbird.

The Aztec believed that fallen warriors would return to earth as hummingbirds and butterflies.

Aztec wore hummingbird talismans comprising of actual bird parts. 

Hummingbirds are emblematic for vigor, energy and their beaks and how they use them symbolically mimic weapons of war.


Anna's Hummingbird

My Camera

For this series of images I used my Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Camera

I normally set my ISO on Auto - one less thing for me to fiddle with!

I set the speed at 4000 because I had good light and these little blighters are super fast. 

I kept my aperture at f/5.6 because I wanted to keep the depth of field shallow. There is a lot of competing imagery for this little picture.

I used my 100 - 400mmXF zoom lens at full zoom of 400mm.

My auto focus mode setting: instead of a single focal zone for gaining focus I had set my focus acquisition to a zone setting. This means I have the central cross hairs surrounded by some 'hand-off' areas all around for a total of 9 zone. I felt this gave me more opportunity of actually catching the bird in focus instead of just the flowers.

I had my camera in Continuous Mode with Continuous Light selected. CL means that I take multiple photos at a single press of the shutter.

I also have a back button focus.

The photos

It was quite difficult to focus on this fast moving bird. It was moving around in and out of the Salvia plants. So I had quite a few of really clear flower plants and a blurry bird!

Then the bird flew up to a mossy tree branch which is just above my garden for a rest. I was in the right place at the right time and caught some shots while it was briefly resting.



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