Monday, August 11, 2008

Another Dream Dashed

Who among us gardeners has not harbored the dream of traveling the world, camera in hand, photographing nature for a magazine like National Geographic? Unfortunately there is the matter of a few personal traits that would be helpful in this avocation... patience, skill, and luck... none of which I seem to have in abundance.
Take the hummingbirds; they flock to a large patch of red beebalm in the garden, and when I went for a walk this morning there were several taking turns feeding on the nectar and then chasing each other around in circles. I ran back to the house for the camera, but when I got back out to the garden, there was not a single hummingbird in sight. I stood there for ten minutes, peering in first one direction, then the other; rather like standing in an empty station looking forlornly in vain up and down the tracks for a train. Well, no luck; by now the black gnats were chewing on the back of my neck and one of the cats came along and flopped down next to me, which brought the wrens and catbirds out of the woods, scolding both the cat and me. I picked up the cat and carried it back to the house; as I was then walking back down the path, I saw one of the hummingbirds was back, but by the time I picked up my camera again, it had chased a bumblebee away from the beebalm and never came back. I stood there another five minutes... finally the bumblebee at least showed up again, and for something to do while I was waiting, I took its picture. The bee then started flying tight circles around me, buzzing loudly. I guess he was still ticked at being chased by the hummingbird and was taking it out on me... I decided the bumblebee was sizing up whether it was worth giving up his stinger to nail me, so I left.
A half hour later I walked back out to the garden without my camera, and there were now two hummingbirds sitting peacefully in the bushes right next to where I had been standing earlier. Maybe National Geographic needs a proofreader.

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Patience m'dear, patience. They were there, sitting in the trees and watching you. They would have been back shortly. Perhaps a nice little garden seat near the flowers would have added to your enjoyment.

You're lucky you have them year-round. Up here in the north we see them in May (on their way to their breeding grounds) and September (on their way to Mexico for the winter).
Don't feel bad, I've seen several this year but never managed one photo. I either forget my camera like you or they fly off too fast before I can focus the camera. lol I did get a great shot yesterday of a hummingbird moth that I posted today. That was cool!
That seems to be how it goes. :) Patience, indeed!
Those darn little hummingbirds are fast and picky about who takes their pictures!! Sometimes I will see two or three out at our feeders and I will go sit on the deck with my camera in hand...they disappear! I get up to walk back into the house and before I can shut the door behind me they are sitting at the feeder (laughing at me I think)
I've invested in a company that is designing cameras that can be installed in our heads, hopefully as part of our retinas. All you have to do is blink a certain way, and you have a pic. You can then plug yourself into a USB port and download the images. This way, no gardener will ever miss a shot.
Hi Don,
I feel your frustration, as our hummingbirds are so skittish that we've still not gotten any pics of them, even with the new cam. I usually go out with mine around my neck just in case something cool stops by (and hummingbirds make such brief visits). I'm surprised your bee balm is still blooming as both of our varieties are essentially done for the year now, but still attract bees and butterflies.

Do you have video capability with your cam? I've been using mine that way a bit lately, and with a bit of zoom thrown in and video mode, you might get something that way. Otherwise I just click on the continuous shoot mode for insects and snap away, that way I'm bound to get a few good shots. Just like shooting at a barn, hehe.
Sally... you are FAR more patient than I. Maybe if the seat had a cupholder for a beer?

PG... I'm with you; love the hummingbird moths. Don't have a picture of one of them either, though.

Nancy... I'll get a picture yet.

Sara... I do think they are psychic!

Benjamin... I'll buy one!

IVG... our beebalm is just about gone too. My camera doesn't have video, but my wife's does. Maybe I'll try that.

I had to laugh, you sound like me!
Spooky... well, it was frustrating! :o)
Unfortunately in the land down under there are no humming birds. However our plentiful and most common parrot is so skittish, it's off before you can lift your camera. I've taken to taking my camera out with me while gardening, a dangerously dirty occupation for camera but hopeful for me just in case I can snap one.
Good luck!
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