Allen’s Hummingbird

An Allen’s Hummingbird feeds from a flower he has been diligently defending all day.

4 responses

  1. Walter,
    My name is Michael Ready from Santa Cruz CA and a subscriber to your emails. My wife, Teresa Mallen, and I learned of you several years ago from Dave Adair, our good friend of 20 years or so who knows you from the Exploratorium. Yesterday, he sent us your bald eagle photo which I’d marveled at when you sent it to me a few days earlier. His one liner for us was, “Walter Kitundu and his frickin’ unbeleivable bird pics! Are you guys subscribed to his blog? How on earth does he do it? Look at this one!”

    Indeed, we marveled at ALL your photos wondering many things about how you accomplish your images. This morning, I suggested to Dave that “There’s only two ways he could have got that shot. Either he’s flying along side the eagle [under your own power] and somehow managed to catch a picture of it or he was prey and got dropped as the bird banked left and Walter snapped off this picture just afterwards [falling to the ground]. I think its the later because that eagle looks intensely pissed!! But then again, ALL birds look intense.”

    A bit more to the story. I recently spent hours selecting photos and creating a movie of my niece’s graduation and then spent hours composing the “perfect avuncular letter” to her encouraging her future pursuits, graduate studies, observations of my own life at her age, decisions I’d made or didn’t and the eventual outcomes, etc, etc. I got a 6 word response of thanks from her today and felt a little under appreciated for all the effort put in but realized she’ll appreciate it more later in life (I hope) but I had a ball putting it all together nonetheless. Walking to Caltrain today and reflecting on this, I, for some reason, thought of receiving the beautiful images you produce and email to us and Dave’s message. I promised myself that I’d take some time tonight to write you and THANK YOU for those fantastic images we get most every day so that you knew that we really appreciate your efforts.

    My wife is an artist and I’m a furniture maker (and a few other non-artist things) so we appreciate the commitment and level of effort that goes into creating. Often, we stop what we are doing and exam your images, talk about the birds and how active and diligent you are. We love stop action photos. It allows you to see life in ways you just can’t see in real-time. Its not better or worse, just different, really fascinating, and utterly beautiful. Physics in action!! And while birds are beautiful in general, they are never more so than when in flight. We look forward to receiving more images in the future and appreciate you for taking the time to do it. It enriches our lives every day. So thanks all the images. I just wanted you to know that we appreciate your work and are greatly enriched by it.

    And BTW, how DID you get that image of the eagle? 🙂
    Michael Ready (and Teresa Mallen)

    July 5, 2011 at 8:31 pm

  2. Hi Michael and Teresa,

    Well, I’m stunned to receive such a thoughtful and kind letter in the comments of my blog. I never quite know how these images live in the world, beyond my posting them, and it is wonderful to know they have become a part of your lives. I’ll do my best to keep BLW active and interesting.

    I appreciate your kind words and am now wondering weather to reveal the Bald Eagle story. As with magic, sometimes revealing the method can leave an audience disappointed. Speculation is so much more spectacular, and I loved your interpretation. Gratefully, I lack the scars to prove your theory.

    I’ll leave it to you to ask again, and if you really want to know – I’ll share the story. I plan on doing a bit more writing in BLW when I have the time, and I hope that will enrich the experience by providing some context.

    Thanks again for your interest. Keep looking up.

    All the best,

    July 5, 2011 at 10:25 pm

  3. Walter,
    Your response regarding my question about how you got the eagle shot, asked somewhat in jest, reminds me of a crafty baseball pitcher stepping off the mound just before the pitch to slow the game down and regain control over the action, timing and movement on the field. I don’t know the baseball equivalent to “touche” but touche.

    As an undergraduate, I remember being fascinated with Harry Houdini. Digging a little deeper into his life, he was good friends with Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle was a strong believer in the occult. If I remember right, he visited many mystics trying to connect with his deceased mother, never successfully. I don’t remember how Houdini became his friend but often Houdini would attend the seances with his friend and would quickly debunk the mystic. The books I read at the time described many of the debunking techniques. Houdini was never fooled and revealed all the tricks before the evening was over. However, Conan Doyle held his beliefs in the afterlife till he died. He told Houdini that he would do his best to contact him after death. I don’t believe that Houdini ever documented any contact. How ironic though that the creator of the worlds most famous “consulting detective” who employed science to solve crimes would be so enthralled in mysticism.

    Understanding more about Houdini did in fact take away from the magic. Taking a lead from that, I’ll leave you to your sorcery and magic and let you keep amazing us with your skills, unique perspective, and feathered finery!!

    Michael (and Teresa)
    Santa Cruz CA

    July 5, 2011 at 11:20 pm

  4. It’s nice to have sorta-introduced you two, even though I don’t know Walter that well. I’m not a birder, but I’ve been blown away by your photos, Walter, since you did that screening at lunch a few years back at the Exploratorium.

    And I struggle to get people to engage on my blog. I’d like it to be more of a conversation than just a one-way broadcast platform. People are timid about writing in public, I guess.

    I’m waiting for Walter to get “discovered” for his bird photos and have them enjoyed by a larger audience….

    July 6, 2011 at 12:14 am

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