a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Holiday Calendar

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Holiday Calendar

SUMMARY: Hummingbird photo.

Back last spring, I posted about a hummingbird nest on my deck and showed some photos illustrating the difficulty of shooting the mom and the chicks.

I kept working at getting photos of the two chicks as they grew, and finally got one that I liked fairly well-- and it's a good thing, because they flew off the next day, never to be seen again.

Of course, it had all kinds of problems anyway--because of the difficulty of squeezing the camera up next to the roof and high enough to see the chicks, and because they're so tiny (the nest is only about 2 inches across), it wasn't even close to straight. Not as sharp as I'd have liked. A little dark. Etc.

Every year, my small company has a contest for employees and their families to pick the art that we'll include on the little fold-out calendars that we send to our clients before the holidays. Each employee can submit up to 3 images, photos or photos of their own art. We usually get 25-30 entries. Everyone votes for their first and second favorites, then votes again in a run-off if necessary. Then our super in-house artist graphics person incorporates it into a nice fold-out calendar.

Our 2010 calendar used my photo of a Monterey morning (actually Carmel, but close enough).

After your art/photo is used, you can't enter the following year, so I didn't for the 2011 calendar, then for 2012 none of mine were selected.

This year I again submitted three photos, including the hummingbird one. But I spent a ton of time on it first--straightened it a bit, cropped in closer to the birds, sharpened it a bit, adjusted the exposure, added some vignetting (darkened the bright corners to keep the attention on the subject), and spent some artful time artfully cloning out the hummingbird poo.

And, yes, hummingbird fledglings got the vote. Woohoo! Coming soon to a 2013 calendar near you--if you're one of our clients.

Happy 2013, a little early! Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Now--notice anything odd about the scene?


  1. Congrats! Very cool photo, I would have voted for it.

    1. Thanks! In the first round, we were banned from voting for our own photos, but in the runoff we were allowed to, and I did. :-)

  2. Notice anything..hmmmm...no.....what?? Great shot..I liked the original too, straight or not!

    1. Well, that's good that you don't notice--look carefully at the leaves.

  3. That's a fantastic shot to start with but I also love the editing you did to really make it shine. Congrats on winning the contest for a second time!

    I'm stumped too about what's odd....

  4. OK, I think it is good that what i think is odd is not in fact obvious even when i say there's something odd about it. The leaves are fake--this was a decorative string of ivy--plastic and fabric!

  5. A-ha! Yep, I'd say you have nothing to worry about. Those birds sure make an excellent distraction!