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Posted (crates) in nature on April-24-2010

ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD A male Anna’s Hummingbird showing his bright, irridescent gorget.  This color is not contained in any pigment in the feathers, but is caused by the refraction of the light which is caused by the physical structure of the feathers.

ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD  A side view of the same Anna’s Hummingbird. The gorget on his chin appears black now as the angle of the light changes and is no longer refracted.

       While leaping along some volcanic rocks on a Pacific beach in Guanacaste province in Costa Rica, I dropped my camera into a tide pool.    It was only underwater for a second before I snatched it out.  I immediately dried it with my bandana, took the lens off and opened the battery compartment, looked inside and saw it was all dry.  Apparently some water got in,  possibly through the control knobs and buttons, because it wouldn’t work.  It appeared that everything turned on fine, but the release switch to take the photograph wouldn’t work.

     After investigating I found that to clean and possibly repair the camera would cost more than I was willing to pay (especially since such cameras could not always be repaired, but you would have to pay to find out), so I decided to get another camera along with a lens which I have had my eye on for a long time.  This lens was the Nikkor 18-200mm lens with vibration reduction which allows the shooter to take photos at lower speeds.  Of course with telephoto lens this vibration reduction (VR) would especially come in handy.  The lack of some sort of telephoto lens on the Costa Rica trip was frustrating since other people were getting great bird shots with their telephotos, whereas I had to be satisfied with my 18-55 mm!  Some people have accused me of dunking my camera into the salt water so I would have the excuse of getting a new camera.  I totally deny this…at least it wasn’t a conscious action.

    Anyway I have found that for the first time, I am able to take half-way decent photos of birds.  I say for the first time although back in the early seventies I had a cheap Spiratone 400mm lens ($34!) which was half the length of my arm and which you had to manually stop down after focusing with the lens wide open.  It didn’t have a vibration reduction mode incorporated in the lens of course, and the photos I took were usually blurry.

   This past Thursday I went down to the local park by the waters of Puget Sound where this little male Anna’s Hummingbird has been hanging about for the past 3 or 4 years and was able to take these shots shown above.  You can check this site for more.  The little male would turn his head back and forth which would cause his brilliant gorget to flash on and off like a neon light as the light angle varied.  This is the same fella whose “chirping” displays I talked about before.

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