Dawn Gulino  

Going For The Food by Dawn Gulino

May 2022 - Going For The Food

May 2022 - Dawn Gulino


About the Image(s)

During Covid, I started photographing birds a bit and the Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Santa Cruz is a great location to practice with an abundance of hummingbirds. This day was overcast and threatening with rain, so it was a perfect day for taking pictures of birds.

These flowers where the perfect place to try to catch hummingbirds actively feeding so I hung out waiting. I positioned myself to have a darker background to try to separate the hummingbird and flowers a bit. When I first started taking pictures of birds, I was simply trying to just focus, but after the 4th time out, I was thinking about what was in the background, how I was going to frame it, and tried to not take a picture unless I thought the composition would work.

When reviewing the final results, I liked the full frame, but cropped in a bit and eliminated some of the flowers to focus on the hummingbird a bit more. I like how the bird is flying in from the right side of the frame into the flowers.

I made small adjustments in Lightroom to the whites, blacks, highlights, shadows and calibration to boost the colors and increase contrast a bit. I then went to Photoshop to make minor adjustments with Color Efex Pro and cropped it. This was taken in shutter priority at 1/640th, f/8.0, ISO 3200 on my Nikon Z7 with the 100-400 with the 1.4 teleconverter at 560 mm.

10 comments posted

Paul Smith   Paul Smith
Yes...good move to capture the hummingbird moving "into" the frame. Your focus on the bird is spot on! Was your camera set to High speed shutter. Well done!   Posted: 05/02/2022 11:44:34
Dawn Gulino
Thanks Paul! Definitely a learning curve!   Posted: 05/07/2022 13:28:08

Ed O’Rourke   Ed O’Rourke
I see a lot to like in this photo, such as the sharp focus on the hummingbird and flower with the blurred background which I think really makes the subject stand out. I also like the high key color contrast with the bright flower and the soft greens of the foliage, background and the hummingbird. I like your composition with the positioning of the hummingbird and flower and the way you have cropped the image to include one flower, thus my eye isn't distracted by the other flowers. Great job!

Of course we all have varying perspectives and I wonder if a bit tighter cropping might change the image perception. Just my opinion as shown below.   Posted: 05/14/2022 11:07:09
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Dawn Gulino
Interesting crop, definitely presents in a different way. Thanks for the suggestion!   Posted: 05/17/2022 23:36:55

Kelly Easler
Gorgeous! Great composition, color (thank you for adding the name of the post- filter...I have yet to work with those) and capturing this beautiful creature! The background seems like the perfect backdrop for the subject(s) to bring out their color even more. I like Ed's crop, too--it helps to put more focus on the hummingbird.   Posted: 05/17/2022 09:11:37
Dawn Gulino
Thanks Kelly! The NIK collection is good. Haven't used them all yet, but like Color Efex Pro quite a bit   Posted: 05/17/2022 23:41:27

Darcy Quimby   Darcy Quimby
Great capture of the bird. I do also agree with Ed on the crop, brings the attention more to the bird then to the flower.   Posted: 05/17/2022 16:30:43
Dawn Gulino
Thanks Darcy!   Posted: 05/17/2022 23:41:42

Mark Bargen   Mark Bargen
Hi, Dawn. For this round I'm undertaking to review each image after viewing only the image and its title, but not the accompanying description. Once I post my comments, I'll turn to the description and others' comments.

I have to confess that, while I appreciate the effort involved, and the technical challenges, I don't find myself emotionally involved in bird and/or flower images. That's just a reflection on me, not on the image.

I imagine that this image is a technical achievement. Everything of interest is quite sharp. There's a bit of motion blur to the wingtips but, considering the rate at which they move, I suspect one would need a strobe to capture a hummingbird without blur.

It's well composed, and I like your crop.

The title establishes that the subject is the hummingbird. (I suppose the subject *could* have been the exotic flower, with a story about it being food source …) With that in mind, I would suggest that the story is undermined slightly by the prominence of the flower. The flower is as saturated, if not more saturated than, is the bird. The contrast between the flower's filaments and the dark background draws the eye immediately to the flower.

To my eye, the story is better supported by painting in a bit more saturation for the greens, and for the blue-violets, in the bird, while desaturating and darkening the red-magentas in the flower. This would not be permitted, of course, in a Nature category competition.

  Posted: 05/18/2022 13:48:38
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Neil Bellenie
Technically an astonishing photograph. Focus and exposure are perfect and the blur on the wings gives the picture a dynamic style.

My first impression of the picture is of a spectacular flower succeeding in its purpose of attracting a vehicle for pollination. From your title it seems you intended the hummingbird to be the main element of the composition. For this it looks to me that the original has the better balance of colors.   Posted: 05/20/2022 13:38:41


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