Set a Screen

Macro photograph of a hummingbird mid flight approaching a feeder
Set a Screen — 100mm | f/3.2 | ISO 400 | EXP 1/320

Last Saturday, before the Mullica River sunset, and long before the grilling and chilling, there was hummingbird watching going on at the Wurst Family kitchen sink. While Ben and Jen were dutifully putting in work to prepare a tasty summertime dinner, I was derailing any kind of kitchen progress as is my style. I’m good at getting in the way.

You see right outside their window atop the kitchen sink hangs one of those nectar/sugar water hanging things that the New Gretna hummingbirds oh so love to suckle. This fly thru hanging restaurant was loaded down with about six hummingbirds bebopping in and out of the feeder and my field of view. Enthralled and in the way, I first started getting some footage with my cellphone. That worked well and on Ben’s recommendation I captured a pretty cool slow-motion video. It’s pretty damn impressive what you can capture with a handheld cellphone these days.

Not content to call it a day with just an iPhone video, I went to the car and retrieved ye olde camera bag. With macro lens fixed I first tried to capture the hummingbirds from the outside. I initially set up shop at the corner of the house a few feet from the kitchen window and the feeder. Unfortunately my presence (stank?) was too much for our little bird friends. They wanted no part of my camera and me. Back to the kitchen! Back to being in the way!

Once inside I took over the kitchen sink area. Again. Like magic the hummingbirds came back almost immediately. It seems the darkened screen on the window provided an illusion of safety for these birds. Despite being only a foot or two away from me, they had no problem flying in and out of my frame. While shooting through the medium of a window screen is suboptimal from a clarity standpoint, it was my only hope for capturing these elusive birds. Not only was the end result solid, I actually like the effect the screen has on the finished product itself; the subtlety of the screen grid works nicely with the bokeh in the shot.





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