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Photographer Notebook
Stewart Grinton

My Favorite PhotoAnna's hummingbird - photography by Steward Grinton
Not every photo assignment I'm given is to traverse the swamps and forest of this great state. In fact many photographic opportunities arise where you least expect them. This image of a female Anna's hummingbird is one of my favorite shots, because it is the first documented sighting of an Anna's in South Carolina. Doreen Cubie, an avian researcher, freelance writer and one of only 250 licensed hummingbird banders in the world, found her in the backyard of an ordinary suburban home in Hanahan, S.C. Anna's are typically found in the western U.S., so this was quite an interesting find.

The photograph itself is worth noting, because it was so tricky to get. Hummingbirds are so small and fast that they make for very difficult subjects to photograph. The equipment I was using was a digital camera on a manual 600mm telephoto lens. This particular pairing of equipment meant no autofocus was available, and I was standing about twenty feet from a bird that is only about four inches long. I positioned the camera in an area where the Anna's had been hovering near a feeder. With a great deal of luck, the bird flew right into frame and I was able to snap two or three frames with everything in sharp focus. She was there for literally two seconds before she flew off into the woods.

With nature photography, there is a great deal of luck involved with getting your shot. Sometimes you will spend all day waiting for an animal or scene that never comes together. Other times you can drive right up to your subject, get the shot and be home in time for dinner. The work is different every time I go afield, and I always come away with a greater appreciation for the outdoors.

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