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).

A quick reminder to vote for your favorite Round 6 story (if you’ve read them). The poll and links to the stories are in THIS post.

We’ve had an uptick in votes as the various factions (… two factions …) weighed in for their favorites. There are about ten days left to the deadline, and them days will go by quick (there’s a holiday in there), so if you are interested in reading the stories (and voting), I suggest proactiveness.

Today, I share a few more recently recorded videos. Again, these videos were shot with the D7500. They were shot in 4K, but I downsampled them 10 1080p for publication. The file size differential makes the choice easy . . . unless I happen to have an amazing video. These are fine as presented.

First up, the action at one of the feeders. You can see another in the background, but this is zoomed in to just one feeder of the 13 I have spread around the house. The original recording is almost five minutes, but I pared it down to a bit over 3 minutes.

The Throwback Today posts are a chance for me to get my D100 and D200 out, make sure the batteries are charged, that there’s a fresh CF memory card waiting to receive photos, and go out and shoot with them old workhorses.

Today it’s all about the D200 coupled with the Nikon 80-400mm zoom (a lens from around the same era, about 20 years ago) and the Nikon 105mm macro. Once again, I’m pushing the camera and lens combination and doing so more than I would have when the camera was new.

By that, I mean that while the D200 was a significant improvement over the D100 in terms of noise, it was still fairly limited by today’s standards. Once you went past the ISO 800 range, you were in severe noise territory. Of course, we now have much better tools to handle noise. That means I can shoot higher ISO values (1600 was the max for this camera) and fast speeds (1250/sec) and not worry about getting unusable photos.

Some of these photos have significant processing, but not all that much more than similar photos with newer cameras.

A few things about the D200 . . .

We had tentatively scheduled posting the Round 6 stories (It’s A Wonderful Life) today, but that’s now likely for tomorrow evening or Monday morning. One writer is traveling, another is not ready . . . and, in a first, I’m actually done ahead of time.

I can say with confidence that very few people will like my story (even fewer than usual, if that’s even possible) . . . but you’ll have to wait until I publish it to judge for yourself.

Instead, today, I share a few recently recorded videos. Normally, I use the P900 for video recording because it’s a little easier, but these videos were shot with the D7500. They were shot in 4K, but I downsampled them for publication. I mean, if they were amazing, I probably would have posted them at 4K, but these are just casual captures.

As mentioned, these posts are a chance for me to get my D100 and D200 out, make sure the batteries are charged and there’s a fresh CF memory card waiting to receive photos, and go out and shoot with them old workhorses.

This is all about the D100 coupled with the Nikon 80-400mm zoom (a lens from around the same era, about 20 years ago). Unlike last time, I picked some easier subjects to shoot . . . maybe.

D100 — Find the Hummingbird

You thought you were safe, didn’t you? Just because I’m shooting an ancient camera, it don’t mean I can’t take decent photos. Or, at least, no worse than usual.

So, on this day, I sat outside in the patio and watched hummingbirds swarm the feeders. It will be interesting to see how much longer they will be doing it since they started early, and it’s 18/31 of the way through August.

Two things about these photos. One, they are cropped, but because the D100 is only a 6MP camera (which, at the time, was quite the luxury), the originals are not as big as what I get from the D7500, and hence the crops are smaller.

And, two, while I mentioned hummingbirds and other birds, those are not the only things I photographed. When the photo departs from those two subjects, I’ll let you know. For instance, the photo above is not of a bird, but a wasp.

A wasp that was competing with a hummingbird and keeping it at bay . . .

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).

This year, they were late. Rather, I didn’t see any at my feeders until late May, and didn’t photograph any until June 1st, well after the Migration Map showed them all the way into Canada. These next two photos are the first of the season.

The photos aren’t great, but they’re shared on the strength of them being the first two photos of the 2022 season. Don’t worry, I have better photos . . . but the ones below are just mediocre.

Let’s begin with THIS<<link notice from the Illinois DNR. Basically, it’s a warning about the EA H5N1 strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) currently impacting some wild and domestic bird species. As a result, they recommend stopping the use of bird feeders and birdbaths until the end of May. I’ll have additional important information at the end of the post. (See what I did there? I used the ole “Details at 11:00” ruse to maybe have a few additional readers stick around until the end.)

I like birds, so on April 22nd I pulled all my feeders and emptied my birdbaths. But, not before I sat outside for a few hours photographing birds from my covered patio. This then is a post harkening back to the posts of yore, when I used to publish long posts with lots of photos. Posts that few people read, and even fewer readers stuck with it to the end.

If I use all the photos I post-processed, I’ll end up with 104 photos in this post (I had nearly 300 photos), but because some photos are similar to each other, I’ll probably have a tad fewer than that . . . but still more than what current readers might be used to.

Right! Let’s begin with a White-throated Sparrow . . .