Last Monday the temperature reached an incredible 105 here in the Wind River Canyon; the digital thermometer read 103 yesterday! This is heat down in this magical canyon we never see in August; in fact, it is unusual in July. It's now drier than it usually is, and that is really saying it dryly. But you didn't come here for a Wyoming weather report; did you?
By this time the adult hummingbirds are long gone. The daylight hours are getting shorter and they know before we all do that it's time to head south. It gets cold quickly in the mountains around here, and if you're a hummingbird you'd rather not be caught in a freezing storm; it will happen sooner than later. It's hot work photographing hummingbirds, unless it's before eight o'clock in the morning! This first image was taken before eight in the morning when it's still quite cool. On one of those blistering afternoons here in the canyon I was in my favorite high-hide photographing my hummingbirds, when I caught this young Rufous in-flight. The new Canon EOS M6 Mark II performs wonderfully on crazy-fast hummingbirds, but the electronic viewfinder cannot keep up with the lightning-fast movement of these babies. It looks odd to an old-timer like me; but it works and @ 14fps it is really quick; if you're quick! Imaged @ 1/3,200th of a second @ F/8, ISO 800 in full, hot, sunshine. Never using flash of any kind when imaging hummingbirds is difficult many times over, but I refuse to subject them to extra stresses during nesting season; which is the only reason they are here in the Wind River Canyon. This next picture is one I rarely give consideration to, but it shows off the wings of an angel @ 1/4,000th of a second, with her tongue out! This last new hummingbird image is a work of art, or are they all? I put in loads more time and ended up liking the photo in monochrome. The color version is fun, but the black and white (monochrome, duh) is an image that can stand on its own. Because hummingbirds are known for their flashy color, the reductionist monochrome image is curiously interesting. This image was shot Wednesday morning before the sun came up in the Wind River Canyon; he is guarding his food source. When they do this they are deadly serious and fight to retain control; typical male behavior. At 1/320th of a second and F/4, ISO 1250 the depth-of-field is very shallow. The focus-point needs to be on the birds' eye, the wildflower is not the subject at all, but adds that diagonal line across the image. This is a baby Rufous hummingbird----born in Wyoming!
I'd like to finish this Wind River Canyon Blog with something a little mushy. I've been feeding the hummingbirds here in the canyon for a very long time. There is a special kind of wonderful emotion when watching the way they respond to my homemade nectar; real sugar @ slightly stronger than 4 to 1. All the sugar (25 pounds!), the work and feeders is a very small price to pay for such emotional satisfaction as this. I am not kidding at all when saying that this is a great service to them and will make you feel wonderfully special; they remember and will return next year!
Thank you for spending your time with me and my hummingbirds in the magical Wind River Canyon here in Wyoming. Until next time----be safe, be smart.
All content is protected by international copyright law and is produced by Michael John Balog; resident of the Wind River Canyon.
For more photographs of Hummingbirds, Orioles, Bluebirds, Bighorn Sheep and things you may never have seen, safely visit my website HogbatsPhotography.com