Just a quick . . . er . . . semi-quick post about the communal bathing habits of House Sparrows. It all started in September, when House sparrows became regular visitors to the birdfeeders. They usually come in small flocks of about ten or so, but occasionally more.

They got into the habit of doing vigorous bathing, usually with multiple birds in the birdbath at the same time. Wait, let me back up a bit . . .

Just a quick post . . . I just saw the notice for the winner of Flickr’s contest. Specifically, the Nature category winner.

https://blog.flickr.net/2022/09/29/world-photography-day-meet-your-contest-winners/

I’m like . . . “What?! A hummingbird Photo?”

I mean, I have hundreds of hummingbird photos. Heck, this past Sunday’s SmugMug Appreciation post had three photos of hummingbirds that I think are just as good.

Here they are:

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Let me explain . . . on Monday, Labor Day here in the US, I started the day by sitting outside and photographing hummingbirds. Mind you, there were lots of other birds around, but I concentrated on the hummingbirds. Then, throughout the morning, I shot more photos.

For the record, 170 photos were snapped, of which I kept 123. The SmugMug gallery (HERE) has 75 of those 123.

How many am I going to show here? Don’t know yet, but not that many.

These photos are all cropped from the originals. Even after cropping, the photos are about 2400 pixels per side, and I’m linking photos about half that size (meaning, SmugMug offers larger versions, as will the slideshow at the end).

Per the title, I’m sharing a few videos I’ve shot. I have a number of videos, but I seldom share them. In part, because they usually need editing, but also because it’s a bit of a pain to upload them.

But, when I do, I do.

So, this year (2022, for future visitors), the hummers started swarming the feeders a bit early. By mid-July, I had to add a few feeders, and now, early August, I have 13 feeders up and have gone through about twenty pounds of sugar.

The hummingbirds seem to feed in waves, but they are especially active when it’s raining (which hasn’t been all that often here in Southern Illinois).

I’ve added music to most videos, but you can lower it or mute it by clicking on the blue bars on the lower right corner (smaller bar, lower volume). Part of the reason for the music is that those feeders are near the A/C unit, and when it kicks on, it’s pretty noisy.

I’m about 20-25 feet away, but the microphone on the P900 still picks up the sound. Also, whenever it rains, the sound from the highway — about a third of a mile from the house — is louder, and the way the patio is positioned acts like an amphitheater for picking up sound.

Anyway, on with more videos . . .

We’re getting to the time of year when despite some hummingbirds jealously guarding their favorite feeder, there are enough birds — and enough pressure to bulk up for the coming migration — that birds, and especially young birds, are forced to share.

It’s also the time of year when I’m likely to capture photos like these . . .

In Thursday’s post documenting Wednesday’s Erculean photography effort, I posted a few photos snapped with my Nikon P900 camera. I don’t use the camera as much primarily because most of my subjects are fairly close. Also, because I’m sitting on a chair on my patio, the weight of the equipment isn’t a concern.

Still, I usually have the P900 out there with me, and for every ten or so photos with the D7500, I’ll snap one or two photos with the P900.

Gray Catbird

The advantage of shooting with the P900 is that I don’t have to crop the photo much (if any) to fill the frame with the subject.

I tend to fall am way behind in sharing photos, so when, yesterday, I ended up shooting about 300 photos, I decided to share a few more than a tenth of them before too much time passed.

So, what kind of photos? Well, hummingbirds, dragonflies, a brown thrasher, white-tailed deer, a raccoon, and a Great Egret. Oh, and the massive Moon we had that evening.

And, we begin with a ‘find the hummingbird photo’ . . . because I’ll have a number of them and I don’t want to bunch them all in one place.

Next up are a few photos from the P900, but only a few; the rest are all D7500 photos.

Per the title, below I offer up photos of more hummingbirds in the rain.

. . . but that’s not how I’m starting. Not only is there no rain, but you also have to find the hummingbird.

It’s not especially difficult . . . once you see it.

OK, let me get on with rainy hummers . . .

In human terms — and as far as the yard was concerned — it was raining pretty good. Now, this guy was guarding the feeder by sitting right on top of it and chasing away any hummers that dared get close.

He held a curious pose, and I think it’s because he was tired and — as we might infer later — was trying to catch a few winks.

Per the title, below I offer up photos of hummingbirds in the rain.

When I walk in the rain (usually because I’m caught in it, not because I’m wont to do so, no matter how attractive it sounds), I don’t perceive much distance between raindrops . . . but a hummingbird’s perception is much different.

True, this rain was not a deluge by any stretch of the imagination. Still . . .

Warning; this post has photos but also talks about photography stuff. If you just like the photos, just ignore the words.

As I mentioned in the first post (HERE), this year the hummers were late in coming to our yard. Since then, we’ve had a bit of a puzzler . . . we had a few rushes where the feeders were going empty fast enough that I added more feeders (up to 11 now), and then we had lulls where I had to throw away old sugar water and replace it with fresh because they weren’t drinking it fast enough.

That cycle has repeated through most of June. It could be because they are nesting and raising broods, but I don’t recall previous years being like this.

So, this post has photos from a gloomy and dark day . . . perfect opportunity for me to play with the latest version of Lightroom’s masking feature. For them not familiar with the parlance, masking refers to selectively working on specific portions of a photo. Using masking, you could brighten (dodging) one area of a photo while darkening (burning) a different area of the same photo.

I seldom engage in dodging and burning. I usually do global adjustments to bring out details from underexposed and overexposed areas, and to balance tones and colors. However, having been reminded real photographers (Ansel Adams, oneowner) make extensive use of masking, dodging, and burning, I decided to play with these photos as a way to learn the new tools.

Here’s what the original of the above photo looks like (Shutter speed 1/2000 at f/9.0, and ISO 1100 with a zoom of 300mm or 450mm equivalent).

As mentioned in Part 1, I’ve been taking a lot of photos of birds.

The 100% Crop series is just at it sounds. Each photo shows a bird cropped from a larger photo. Most of the crops will be 100%, but not all.

I was going to include this in the previous post but decided it merited its own post. What is a Mississippi Kite, you ask?

As shot, at 300mm zoom (450mm eqv.)

For photos at 100% crop (the above photo isn’t), if your browser window is set to full screen, and if your screen is large enough, when you click on the photo, it will fill the screen. If your cursor shows as a circle with a ‘plus’ sign, it means your screen resolution is smaller than the photo, in which case, you can click on the photo to further zoom in to 100% resolution.

Again, you won’t see the above at 100% size unless you go to SmugMug and zoom in.

Anyway, I was sitting watching birds when I noticed a speck in the sky. Normally, I can tell what it is by the way it flies (various birds) or soars (raptors or vultures). This one looked odd.

Of course, in SmugMug, you can view the first photo at full resolution and you can see the bird a tad larger . . .

roughly a 100% crop of the above

. . . . I wasn’t happy with either the processing or size of the 100% crop, so I ran the photo through Topaz GigaPixel and doubled the resolution . . .

As mentioned in Part 1, I’ve been taking a lot of photos of birds.

The 100% Crop series is just at it sounds. Each photo shows a bird cropped from a larger photo. Most of the crops will be 100%, but not all.

Regardless, the photos will be fairly large close-ups of the birds. And, what better way to begin than with a Bald Eagle?

For photos at 100% crop (the above photo isn’t), if your browser window is set to full screen, and if your screen is large enough, when you click on the photo, it will fill the screen. If your cursor shows as a circle with a ‘plus’ sign, it means your screen resolution is smaller than the photo, in which case, you can click on the photo to further zoom in to 100% resolution.

The above shot was taken from the car. Even at 300mm zoom (450 effective), the bird is fairly small. I can crop the image and it’s still small.

Of course, in SmugMug, you can view the first photo at full resolution and it’ll be a tad larger . . . but, I also ran the photo through Topaz GigaPixel and doubled the resolution . . .