Spider Flower Gets a Visit

August 9, 2015

Sometimes I can’t manage to drag my tired rear end from bed at 4:00 a.m. so I stick around the farm for some close-to-home photography that allows me to sleep a few hours more. Lately, on those lazy days, I’ve been pursuing hummingbirds around Virginia’s flower garden down the hill. As a reminder, Virginia is Joyce’s mom. She has several flower gardens, and feeds hummingbirds as well so photographic opportunities abound around her place.

Among Virginia’s flowers is a spider flower that I find most beautiful, with its delicate, reddish tendrils, draping seed pods, and colorful petals. Unfortunately, the bloom has been of more interest to me than to the local hummingbirds. I’ve spent many hours watching it through my 500 mm lens in both morning and afternoon light, to no avail, but a few days ago I finally managed to capture the featured image as a young-of-year ruby throat darted in to inspect the florescent target. It didn’t stay long, I suppose because the spider flower is not a generous provider of nectar, but it did stay long enough for a decent shot.

When photographing hummingbirds on flowers, I sometimes select the entire ring of focus points around the flower which is more or less centered in my frame. When the hummingbird sweeps in, there is a good chance that it will cross one of those points and I’ll get the shot. This doesn’t always work but it works better than trying to “focus and recompose” or manually focus on the lightning fast action. I recommend you give it a try yourself and you’ll see what I mean. By the way, the surrounding light should be ample to provide a shutter speed of at least 1/1000 sec at your chosen ISO and aperture setting. Here I’m shooting f/5.6 from an f/4 lens at 1/1000 and ISO 400. The camera was my trusty Canon Mark IV.

Regarding the background of this image, the smooth green bokeh is simply the fescue field behind the flower. When setting up for the shot, I look for the most uniform part of the field to point my lens in line with the flower so there won’t be any lighter or darker distractions in the out-of-focus part of the capture. The rest is just patience and good luck, as usual.

Thanks for looking,


Email:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery and Fine Art Print Selection:  Here

5 comments on “Spider Flower Gets a Visit”

  1. What a great photo. Youngster learning about flowers

  2. I like that last line…such a simple explanation of how a complex shot turns out to be magic!

  3. I agree with deponti, there is a lot more skill involved than you’re giving yourself credit for!

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