This summer my wife and I put a hummingbird feeder on our front porch right in front of our kitchen window. For the first couple of weeks, we didn’t see anything, but once the birds discovered it, they started hanging out all day long. At first, it was difficult to get close enough to get a clear shot, but they started to get used to us being around and grew a bit less skittish. The more I shoot them, the more I try to capture the “perfect shot”. I am shooting through a window, and that greatly has diminished the quality of the shots – I will have to sit outside one day and see if they will come around while I’m there.

As I reviewed my latest picture of one of these little birds, I started to realize that I like having a well to dip into right in front of my own home. Sometimes it’s kind of like calibration for the craft. It can bring you back to basics. Shooting the same subject over time and trying to keep it fresh and new even though the elements are pretty much identical is also quite therapeutic. Over time, you start to capture a mood by manipulating the way the light falls as well as creating an interesting composition. You begin to get emotionally involved with the subject, looking for clues to it’s personality that you can exploit. In this particular shot, she was on the other side drinking the nectar and then flew around to the left side and looked at me while seemingly posing for this like a little model. A second later she flew away at that breakneck speed hummingbirds like to travel at. It made me genuinely happy when she did that. I realize now that the “perfect shot” may never happen, and I’m perfectly content in continuing to pursue it.

What is the well that you’ve been returning to lately in your craft?

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