capturing the unexpected

August 21, 2017  •  5 Comments

One of the things a photographer in the field learns early on is that not everything will be as one expects, and frequently, it is not.  You travel - by foot or mechanical means - to one place, with a specific plan.  You have carefully thought about the weather and environmental conditions, the time of day and light, the equipment you need, and yet, somehow, elements end up being different.  And frequently, that can be a really good thing.  I try to tell myself to be open to whatever presents itself and capture the unexpected.

People who live in the western United States, particularly mountainous areas, are familiar with the capricious nature of the weather.  Sunday's forecast wasn't too dramatic.  Not much of a chance of rain, but when the ominous, dark clouds started brewing to the east near Taos, it certainly looked like we were going to have rain.  It came in suddenly and with violent wind and driving rain. I went out onto the portal to savor the event, and to check the hummingbirds to see if they were out.  Some, as there usually are, were busy hanging on to the feeders, some were bathing in the spray.  But a small hummingbird was perched on top of an aspen branch, just sitting.  I moved slowly, wondering if I could get my camera in time to catch it.  Almost going into stasis, this bird was not going to move into the storm but instead stayed in the relative shelter of the roof eaves.  It was something I did not expect, and I darted upstairs to grab my camera with 70-200 mm lens, went outside, and the bird was still there. Using the in-camera flash, I got off about 10 shots, downloaded them into Lightroom, came back to the portal where the bird was still in its same place. This time, I was a little more prepared and managed to shoot more.  It was a treat.

Fred and I have poured over our bird books - two editions of Peterson's and one of Sibley's, and we still cannot determine what type of hummingbird it is. The givens are that this is a male and a juvenile, but being wet, it was difficult to determine the species.  It is either a black chinned or broadtailed.

hummingbird in rain 4hummingbird in rain 4


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The white stripes to the right of the bird are drops of rain.

hummingbird in rain 2hummingbird in rain 2  


This guy is starting to nap!

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I hope that during your photographic sojourns this week, whether they involve the solar eclipse or not, offer the unexpected!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


Elida Hanson-Finelli(non-registered)
Thank you Daryl for the thrilling close up of these gems of nature. Your photos are always a meditation for me and reminder of the intimate beauty that surrounds us! Thanks. elida
What a smart little guy to stay under the eaves and take a nap. Beautiful, just beautiful whatever the "brand" may be.
Amazing photos. You have the patience of Job! The rain drops were just icing on the cake. Thank you for sharing your experiences and beautiful photography. We watched the eclipse on the NASA website. It got dark and rainy looking here because of the eclipse. I kept the dog inside, as he usually is, but the chickens didn't go to roost as I expected, with the exception of one of the baby chicks, who jumped onto a board, roosting, as if he was all grown up. They didn't go back into the coop as I thought they might.
Love your posts!
Steve Immel(non-registered)
You are such an avid observer of the nature around you. To be as engaged by fleeting events as you are is a gift. These shots of the hummingbird are priceless, black chinned or broadtailed. How much of a role did the on-camera flash play do you think?
I enjoyed this post Daryl. Lovely sentiments and excellent photos of this little guy.
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