2020-06-28: Hummingbirds

For a while it seemed that all hope was lost for hummingbirds this season, as all but a couple disappeared within two weeks of showing up (that’s what Prince George weather does to you!). But I kept filling my feeders for the couple that were around and enjoyed the brief glimpses that I had. Then quite suddenly it was a flurry if activity, at one point counting 15 individuals, and I’ve been filling up 5 feeders at least once every second day, if not more often.

They don’t stick around long so I am enjoying it while it lasts, although I do call them my little piggy birds.

While I would much prefer to get shots in a natural environment, we have so few flowers that the feeders are the only attractant, and they disappear deep into the forest when not feeding.

Hummingbirds galore!

2019-01-20: Costa’s Hummingbirds

I was going to post some of these images on Wednesday last week for a wordless Wednesday post, but I was having a few site issues, and just didn’t have the patience to wait while WordPress loaded slowly.  So instead, I’ve gone through my images and found a few more hummingbird images and am sharing them all today.

While I was in Southern California, I enjoyed my morning coffee on the patio, and loved watching the hummingbirds fighting over the best spots at the feeders and various flowering bushes.  I also noticed how chattery the Costa’s hummingbirds are.  They spent a lot of time singing from the branches of the bushes in the garden.  The link below is the All About Birds page for the Costa’s hummingbird, and you can hear what they sound like there.

All About Birds – Costa’s Hummingbird

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Seeing these images makes me long for spring even more, when the Rufous hummingbirds return to Prince George for another (short) spring and summer season.

2018-09-16: Topaz Week 2

I am continuing to enjoy working in Topaz Studio, and now that I am getting more comfortable with the interface, I am starting to notice some differences that may affect how I use the program for future images.

First off, I have noticed that there can be a dramatic difference in how Topaz renders the raw file prior to having any processing done, and it seems to be very dependant on which camera I was using.  This lion image was shot with my old Nikon D610 (which I traded in late last year for a Fuji XT-2).

This is the unedited image, exported from ON1 Photo Raw.

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This is the unedited image from Topaz Studio.

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For comparison purposes, this is the raw file out of Luminar.  The results are quite similar to the On1 version, especially in terms of the colour rendering.

As you can see, with this image there are fairly dramatic differences in the colour rendering, the amount of contrast and detail in the image, and how bright the image is.  The raw file appears to have a significant magenta cast in the Topaz file, compared to a more neutral tone in the On1 raw file.  I have been finding colour correction a bit tricky with Topaz so far.  I think of all the tools I have available to me, Luminar does the best job at correcting colour and especially removing colour casts.

But, even though I started from a different spot editing the raw file in Topaz than I would have from On1, I am happy with the results I was able to get with the image.

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Here is the finished image.  I spent time with this gorgeous lion early one more whilst on Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa.  May, 2017.

With this next image, the difference in colour rendering was far less between On1 and Topaz Studio, so as with all photo editing, images do need to be looked at on a case by case basis.  The landscape image below was shot with my Panasonic FZ1000.

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The unedited raw image from On1 Photo Raw.

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The unedited image from Topaz Studio.

In contrast to the lion image, the raw file in Topaz Studio looks better to me than through On1, a little bit brighter and with a bit more detail.

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Here is my final edit of this image through Topaz Studio.  I was able to bring out depth of colour and detail in the image, without completely removing the grainy haze from the sand storm that was kicking up in the distance.  Taken at Hoanib Camp in Namibia, April 2017. 

Here is an image from this summer, shot with my Fuji XT-2.  I sure miss sitting outside watching the hummingbirds zip around the yard.

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Unedited from On1 Photo Raw.

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Unedited from Topaz Studio.

The difference in rendering on the Fuji files is far less dramatic.  The one out of Topaz looks flatter, but that’s what the editing process is for.

Here is the edited image:

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Edited through Topaz to bring out the detail, and get rid of the distracting elements of the background (in this case by cropping them out).  On second glance I could have made the image a bit brighter, but since the purpose of this exercise was to look for differences in how the raw image looked, I’ll leave it as is.

After doing a few of these image comparisons, I am finding that there is a consistent, dramatic difference in the way On1 and Topaz render files from my old Nikon camera, with the files being significantly more “true to life” in the On1 rendering.  Since I don’t have the Nikon anymore, this isn’t an issue that will plague me beyond finishing up the backlog of images I have that I would like to edit, so I can make smart choices about what software to use when.  The differences between the raw rendering with files from my Panasonic or Fuji cameras is not so dramatic, and if I am using Topaz Studio, I have a better starting point with files from those cameras than I do with the Nikon files.




2018-06-24: Monthly Photo Project – Hummingbirds

As promised last week, I have some hummingbird photos to share this week.  I’ve been spending as much time as I have been able outside, enjoying the antics of the rufous hummingbirds.  I probably should have tried taking some video, but I don’t want to delay this post and go out and attempt it.  Perhaps over the coming week I’ll give that a try.

The rufous hummingbirds arrive in Prince George early to mid-May; with the males arriving first followed shortly after by the females.  Their arrival coincided with the weather going from unseasonably warm to ridiculously cold and frosty, so there wasn’t much for them to feed on, making them extra reliant on the feeders that I put out.  I started with one feeder and as more birds arrived hung up extras.  Currently I have four feeders around the yard, and am putting out between 1 to 1.5 litres of nectar per day for the group living in my vicinity.

I have photos of four at a feeder at a time, but have seen more than eight gathered around one, with others hanging out at the other options.  Usually that is early in the morning or late in the evening, when it is challenging to get images.  If I had to guess, I would say there are probably 15 to 18 individuals that are frequenting the feeders, but they move so quickly and erratically, it is really tough to say.  There are definitely lots of juveniles, so their breeding has been successful this year.  With the long days we have, they are busy feeding from around 4am until after 10pm every day.

My yard is surrounded by thick forest, and the hummingbirds retreat deep into the bush between feedings, making it had to get decent images of them on natural perches.  Images of birds on feeders aren’t ideal, but that’s where they are gathering, so I have to work with what is available.  I am going to keep trying to get some images of them on the forest, but I don’t have long to do so, as they usually begin their southern journey mid July.

If you want to learn more about the rufous hummingbird, check out the link below.  They are noted as being feisty – that’s a complete understatement!

All About Birds – Rufous Hummingbird

Now, time for the images.

An adult female rufous hummingbird.

An adult male rufous hummingbird.

Sharing nicely (for once).

The male taking off to join the fray.

I nearly got taken out by the birds on more than one occasion while hanging around outside taking photographs.  I think it would have hurt them a lot more than me though.

Adult and juvenile females heading in for a feed.

Beak to beak combat.

2016-05-01: What I’ve seen this week

The back yard continues to get busier, as more and more birds are heading into town.  The warm weather has also meant trips to the garden centre to start sprucing up the yard, and getting some colourful flowers to contrast the sea of green.

This weekend has flown by, and there is still much to do, so I will leave it at that and get to the photos.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

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Not the sharpest photo, but nice to have evidence of a few rufous hummingbirds getting along, and sharing the feeder.

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A pileated woodpecker seen on a morning walk.

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The purple finches have arrived, and along with the yellow pumped warbler, are filling the yard with lovely songs.

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The yellow pumped warbler – he’s quite a shy one!

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From the trunk up… I have no idea what type of tree this is, but it was one of the things that caught my eye while doing a photo walk downtown early this week with my local photo club.

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Lovely blossoms, but again I ave no idea what variety.

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I saw three deer while out on my bike Sunday afternoon, and then this single one spent a great deal of time in the yard on Monday.

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I snapped a few quick photos of this bird before it flew away; I was unable to tell until I got it on the computer that it is a red breasted sapsucker.

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Another view of the lovely deer that visited on Monday.

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Enjoying the backyard salt lick.

2016-04-24: What I’ve seen this week

After a few fairly quiet weeks at the feeders, the backyard is coming alive again with new visitors.  The warm weather has brought in the rufous hummingbirds, and I’ve also seen a yellow rumped warbler around the yard.  There are at least one pair of pine siskins feedings on sunflower seeds as well.

Out on my walks, I’ve been seeing bunnies every day (including a pair that looked as if they were planning a bunny rendezvous in the near future) but I wasn’t able to capture any decent photos of them this week.

Onto the pictures, have a great week everyone!

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A male rufous hummingbird (with his tongue sticking out just a little bit).

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A yellow rumped warbler (Audubon’s).

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A yellow rumped warbler hanging around the back garden.

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A pair of crows I spotted on an early morning walk.

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A female rufous hummingbird.

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A pair of pine siskins.

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A ruffed grouse I spotted while out walking.



Prince George Hummingbirds

I’ve been MIA from the blog for a few weeks now, and I am glad to finally have an opportunity to get back to posting. I made a move about two and a half weeks ago up to Prince George, and have been spending my time trying to get settled into my new life routine (and spending two full weeks without any internet!).
So far so good up here. I haven’t seen a moose yet, but did see a young grizzly bear on moving day (my camera was sadly not to hand) but what has been outstanding are the hummingbirds. We put up feeders in the front and back yard quickly, and drew quite a crowd. Now there are three feeders and at least one needs to be refilled every day, sometimes more than once a day. At one point we counted nine hovering around the front porch. I didn’t manage to get that in a photo (yet) but I did capture proof of five at one time.
Here are a few of the hummingbird photos I have captured so far. It’s also been my first chance t try out my new lens, the Tamron 150mm-600mm. The reach is amazing, but for this, I really didn’t need it; sometimes I can’t even hang the feeder back up before the hummers start eating again. They are very comfortable with me being close by.  I am happy, happy, happy with my bird watching 🙂

Have a wonderful evening everyone!

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If you look closely, you can see that he is sticking his tongue out!
If you look closely, you can see that he is sticking his tongue out!

Beautiful contrast with the evergreens and moss.
Beautiful contrast with the evergreens and moss.

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A rest... but only for a moment.  There's a feeder close by to protect.
A rest… but only for a moment. There’s a feeder close by to protect.

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With all these hungry guests, I'm going through a lot of sugar.
With all these hungry guests, I’m going through a lot of sugar.

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Party of five at a feeder built for three.
Party of five at a feeder built for three.

It's nice to see them sharing, rather than fighting each other off.
It’s nice to see them sharing, rather than fighting each other off.

Hummingbird with her tongue out

Continuing on with the hummingbirds!

If you look very closely, you can see that this hummingbird is sticking her tongue out (maybe she was tired of the flash).  I've posted a second photo where she is not, for comparison purposes. I love the angle of the light, as the beautiful gold green colour of her feathers is very apparent. 1/200 sec, f5.6, ISO100 with speed light
If you look very closely, you can see that this hummingbird is sticking her tongue out (maybe she was tired of the flash). I’ve posted a second photo where she is not, for comparison purposes.
I love the angle of the light, as the beautiful gold green colour of her feathers is very apparent.
1/200 sec, f5.6, ISO100 with speed light

I've posted this photo to compare to the other photo of the female on the feeder. 1/200 sec, f5.6, ISO100, 150mm with speed light
I’ve posted this photo to compare to the other photo of the female on the feeder.
1/200 sec, f5.6, ISO100, 150mm with speed light

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