Photographer Rick Morris heads to Filoli in search of hummingbirds and zinnia

by Rick Morris on September 11, 2023

I’ve always wanted to get a picture of a hummingbird feeding on a zinnia bloom. To find out where zinnias are, I posted on Nextdoor asking if anyone was aware of any zinnia blooms in our area.

A very nice neighbor, Stephanie, responded and said she has a membership at Filoli where zinnias bloom and that she would be happy to take me there as her guest.

So we met up on a Tuesday at 10:00 am, and we walked toward the upper garden where I’ve always found a lot of hummingbirds in the past. There was a cluster of zinnias, and we stood by them for awhile, but no hummingbirds.

But I could see hummingbirds feeding on the Agapanthus (aka Lily of the Nile) and the Peruvian Lilies (aka Alstroemeria) so I moved toward those flowers and waited for the hummingbirds to show up. It definitely takes patience to sit and wait, but they eventually show up to feed.

I stayed in the upper garden for about 90 minutes and was able to get some decent shots of the birds on the Agapanthus and the Peruvian Lilies. The sun was a bit bright, and I was still taking pictures at 11:00 am, which is not the best time from a sun light perspective.

The best time for bird photography is early morning from sunrise until about 9:30 am and then the evening from 4:30 pm to sunset. One great thing about an overcast day is that it doesn’t matter what time you take the pictures as the lighting is always really nice and filtered by the clouds.

All photographs were taking with my Nikon D850 DSLR and my Nikkor 500mm f5.6 pf lens.

View more of my photos online. Rick’s greeting cards can be purchased on Etsy.

Photos by Menlo Park resident Rick Morris (c) 2023

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