Beryline Hummingbird captured by Z 9 / Z400f4.5 w/Z1.4x & 2x Profoto A10

It was first found in the US in 1964 and ever since, one or two are found each year in southwestern Arizona. You read right, one or two! That puts the Beryline Hummingbird in the very rare category. I saw my first one back in the 90’s, again in the 2000’s and not until last week when I saw it for the third time was I able to make a click of it. And for the first opporutnity to photograph it, I’m darn happy with the photo I came back with. So what’s one of the most important tools that I carry in my camera bag that made this click possible? Knowledge!

I’m not talking about knowledge of the Z 9 or the applying of the Profoto A10, I’m talking about the knowledge, in this case, the possibility of seeing a rarity and that I didn’t have it in my files. Knowledge of the subject and my genre of photography, wildlife. There’s an old saying in business school that really applies to photography. “You can’t sell from an empty cart!”

The knowledge we obtain, grow, cultivate and draw upon about our subjects as photographers is one of our most powerful and important tools we have. When I think about my very successful friends, I’m always amazed and impressed by all the knowledge they have amased at their fingertips about their subjects. Whether it’s football or avaition, fashion or  insects, the list goes on and on as I think about the photographer and their genre and their vast knowledge bank. They use that knowledge to tell their visual story, to go out and find that story, and to find a home to sell that story. Yes, their skill behind the camera is an intrigal part of the equation but without that interesting subject in front of the the lens, the lens is useless!

As I sat there with all the hummers buzzin about, I listened for the Beryline’s call, a simple series of repeated three pattern of buzzy twitters, dzzzir or dzzzzrrt. The second day I heard it. The third and fourth day saw it and photographed it. I now have it in my library, the cart is not empty and that is because the camera rig I was using and my knowledge. Simple application of one of the most important tools!

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