Rufous Hummingbird at Crafton, Allegheny County, PA
This outstanding adult male Rufous Hummingbird appeared in a Crafton yard in early August (!). Despite the best efforts
of the homeowner, the bird remained unknown to the birding community at large until mid-November, when it was finally mentioned
to the staff at Powdermill Avian Research Center. It was banded 13 November, and the homeowner graciously opened her yard
and home to all birders hoping to catch a glimpse.
The bird was obviously very visible and approachable, as evidenced by these photos. The day I was there, it was pretty
dark with rain and (mostly) heavy overcast, which made for some slow shutter speeds, but despite this I have often thought
that overcast (particularly bright overcast which was lacking that day) has real advantages for hummingbird photography. The
low contrast brings out a lot of subtlety of color that is simply blown out in direct sunlight. Anyway, even though it
was a “poor” day for photography, it had its advantages for this particular subject.
I like the contrast between the following two images, which are basically the same pose but one was with flash and
one was without. The flashed photo has the expected (and usually frowned upon) “ghosting” in the wings but I like
the effect anyway, even though it is an artificial effect.
PS -- For you digital photography aficionados, these are the first serious pictures I have taken with the newly released
Canon 50D. Highly recommended...