Hummingbird Photographers – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]

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Meet a couple from East Texas who have combined their interest in birds and love of travel, along with a mastery of photography, to capture the fleeting flight of the hummingbird. Discover more about Texas wildlife at

some I want to show you at their East Texas lake cabin near living sin and Shirley Rucker have found a unique way to connect with nature I think we have a woodpecker up on that tree they have long been bird-watching it's always exciting when we see a pileated in our yard one time we had a mama daddy and a new fledgling but this couple does more than just watch bird school especially hummingbird explore Sid and Shirley go to great lengths to capture hummingbirds in flight in photographs we consider my little feathered friends it looks like a lot of stuff and it is what began with a simple snap shot out the window it probably takes us a half a day to set all this up has become a second career of sorts for the Rucker's we work this hard at a real paying job we would be well on what we would make everything has to be fairly precise I need about 17 inches to the bird it's a technical pursuit the flashes go anywhere from ten thousands of a second to 20 thousands of a second but capturing birds in flight is clearly also an art that's really not gonna work no it needs to be lower we don't shoot any trapped birds they come and go at the feeders as they choose they're all free flying birds now it's the final tuning ready okay we learn by trial and error what's it we just move the light stands around safe until we get the light right when right on the money just experimenting around till we got our technique we want them on this side of the feeder so we block up all the holes on the other side with all the equipment and a photographer in place only one more thing is needed to sit and wait patience ruby-throated hummingbird so the one we have here when it leaves the Texas coast it flies 600 miles non-stop across the go to Mexico and if you do your math it flies about 30 miles an hour their wings beat 50 times a second their wing beats over 3 million times on a non-stop migration impressive I think just as hummingbirds migrate each year to avoid the cold Sid and Shirley migrate in their motor home to escape the summer heat we pack up leave the heat mosquitos and go where whoo and dry and when they take off they carry their studio with photograph Hummer hot spots in their travels one place the Rucker's stop most every year is Dan Brown's Hummer house south of the Sun engines it's really spectacular probably five or six thousand Hummers here I had no idea what I was getting into this started out as a hobby feeding hummingbirds 45 years ago today dan and Kathy Brown make their ranch more attractive to hummingbirds and all sorts of wild we're feeding four gallons of sugar water a day and the wild life draws other visitors we will have about a thousand people through our observation room a summer you know what time it is this is a very large feeding and nesting side of black-chinned hummingbird it takes seven of these little birds to weigh one ounce so agile they're remarkable birds the Rutgers of course are here for the photo opportunities you want to shoot black gin this is probably the best place in the United States as the Sun Goes Down Sid sets up where he hopes birds will be tomorrow oh you're not going to work every photo shoot – hi presents a brand new set of challenges so let's go to plan B flexibility is the key have these little fellers just for situations like this today flexibility means never running out of class still too high go to Plan C or stands it is not gonna be high now may I go back to plan B I don't think that's gonna be on uh we have long days out there but we like it a brand new digital camera presents one more challenge there's all kinds of settings so you're gonna like it once then get it figured out okay you'll be out here ready to go by 6:30 in the morning different people have different callings we like this son-in-law loves to sail in his free time and Sid says I just cannot see sitting in that boat sailing around all day and he says well you know I can't see sitting all day behind the camera waiting for hummingbird what kind of photograph black-chinned hummingbird bathing or drinking water but Hummers aren't cooperating this morning it doesn't always pan out now what's wrong with this silly thing but that may be what keeps it interesting it's the challenge of what we may capture on film let's try the mystery we don't here siren no where's squealing tires it's all nice and quiet and peaceful out there the birds get up with daylight and they go to bed it's dark and if we just just like it out there we have a couple of slideshows that we do surely I spent four or five years photographing hummingbirds for the book hummingbirds of Texas I would really like to tell you that I took the picture but a last surely took that most pictures in there yeah albino here have a story taking it Dan Brown's Hummer house they're really very rare we tailor the presentation to the size of the audience in the type of audience look at that fork tail on that thing but whether presenting to birders or photography we thank you all for coming this afternoon slides always seem to leave an impression it brought tears to my eyes and it's shooting hummingbirds for a couple of years now you have to capture the behavior of the birds and surely instead of just done that beautifully and each time someone buys the Rutgers hummingbirds of Texas book royalties fund Texas Parks and Wildlife's hummingbird watch program so in that way Sid and surely Rutgers passion for these small wonders helps ensure that there will always be hummingbirds to enjoy admire and yes photograph I cannot foresee that will ever stop until we have to we won't choose to quit doing this that came out good didn't yeah I remember this one we're always trying for something better and something different better like better composition better exposure better this better that we're always wanting mold that's neat just gotta keep taking and keep taking and keep taking once in a while you get one of those windings and that's what we're trying for to learn more about hummingbirds or the Texas hummingbird roundup citizen science program visit the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department website

30 thoughts on “Hummingbird Photographers – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]

  1. I remember about 10or 12years ago my mom had two feeders hanging in the autumn of the year.The hummingbirds were all around.This one hummer kept going from one feeder to the other.Well, s(he) finally had enough of being hogged, and drilled another in the back of the head.Let me tell ya, the fight was on then.They went to the ground and back in the air,just a fussing with one another.My mom and I laughed so hard, the other hummingbirds left for a few minutes.That was so funny though.

  2. I love watching my little girls, I had three young girls hatch and been feeding all summer. I will probably cry when they leave, and it won’t be long now 😔

  3. Well I think this video was really helpful back in 2011 to 2012. Video is great tho. But as of now, we hav more professional cameras with 10 to 20fps and better low light capabilities and also optical image stability internally. So these many equipments now required.

  4. What is used to clip up the background when Sid is taking the shots? I would be interested in something like that to control my background colors, but don't know what to search for

  5. I will be 70 before the year runs out and during last 4 years have developed interest in photography and wild life , in that sequence ! And it's people like these who help you find meaning in life , purpose in living ! Worth emulating, must admit.

  6. WOW you two are blessed. I have a few humming bird feeders out I love the little guys.
    I have one that runs all the others off.

    Got work you guys make such a cute couple two.

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