Tom and Cree celebrate the great images being created by their community of photographers each month by selecting a Photograph of the Month. For July we selected an image of a Broad-billed Hummingbird created by Suzanne McCann on our Arizona Hummingbirds Workshop. We hope you enjoy Suzanne’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to July 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Suzanne McCann
The Story …
The story behind this image is twofold. I went down to Madera Canyon not with the intent to simply take pretty pictures. I wanted to create folded notecards or photographs for the wall.
This drove the choice of background, white, because I can fit it into a lot of different wall spaces. During the pandemic I did my best to learn PhotoShop. The white background makes it easier to change out birds and flowers
The hummingbirds themselves were also a driving force for my images. Hummingbirds are spirit symbols in the cultures where hummingbirds are indigenous. Cultures have different interpretations of hummingbirds but they all point to what is good in the world: joy, freedom, prosperity, good luck, a sign from the heavens….a lot of different things, but all uplifting.
When I created the cards it was with the intent to show joy.
The Photo of the Month was originally a bird in one picture and a flower in another. I wanted to combine them into one photograph for a little girl’s room – my grand niece. I chose a gentle background with light pink to set the tone.
I also wanted to create an image that would tell a story for her future. Hummingbirds can fly forward and backward. They can stop on a dime and fly in one place until a situation gets better. They have endurance and determination. Their focus is on the good stuff – the nectar. They skip the thorns and the leaves and go to what is nourishing. Finally, they can be fiercely protective and be a warrior if needed. I wanted to show a girl that while there is pink and pretty and froth, there are also attributes of hummingbirds which are good life lessons
EXIF Data: Nikon D850 with 500mm PF len
Manual mode with flash F16, 1/200 sec, ISO 100
Suzanne’stips for creating hummingbird images:
They move so fast. Don’t be frustrated if you cannot get tack sharp birds in every photo.
I found it easier to focus using a remote trigger. My reflexes are not as quick as they used to be.
Also, go in with a plan. Figure out what you want to do with the photos ahead of time. Then you can decided what will yield the best results while shooting. For me that was choosing to use white backgrounds. Unlike photographing bears, with hummingbird images you can literally change the background color either before taking the image or afterwards with PhotoShop.
About Madera Canyon
The New York Times describes Madera Canyon as a Sky Island. It is incredibly special and just a short distance from Tucson. It is home to a wide variety of birds including hummingbirds. Just go a mile up the road and you will find different species.
You can be photographing hummingbirds and a wild turkey will come up to you to see what you are doing. Or a coatimundi.
Santa Rita Lodge is geared towards attracting birds and animals. They provide spaces for you to enjoy them. And for photographers to set things up.
On Suzanne’s Horizon
Bosque del Apache
Yellowstone in Winter
Arizona Hummingbirds in Madera Canyon
Hummingbirds in Ecuador
There are a few spaces left on our Arizona Hummingbirds Workshop in 2023. Click here to read more
Our 2021 schedule is full, but we have openings for 2022 and 2023, For our full schedule Click Here