Now I know this one is a bit long but bare with me, it’s well worth it. At least I think so.
July 28, the big day for our friends was finally here, but there was still a lot of preparation to do before a successful marriage could be pulled off. Being in a campground anything that was needed for the celebration had to be constructed, mostly using PVC piping and plywood. We also needed to hike around the general proximity of the campground to find a good location for the ceremony itself, with enough space for everyone, a more natural vide than the busy campground, and yet close enough that everyone could walk there without much difficulty.
I think there is a movie reference in there somewhere…
They settled on a small clearing a little ways off, but this location had one small setback… getting there required crossing a small stream, which really was just a large muddy swath. My dad and some of the others solved this problem by hastily building a “bridge” which was then thrown over the creek/mud. Crisis averted!
The makeshift bridge
Some of the younger girls felt left out during the whole building process and wanted to partake too, so they decided to construct a decretive arch to adorn the opening into the clearing. Their material of choice was some large tree branches (more like saplings really) tied together with twine and spruced up with ribbon, paper lanterns, and beads. I thought it really added to the wedding atmosphere out in the woods.
The Great Wedding Arch
Now that everything was ready the march to the wedding began. Since the location was close to the mud creek there were a few patches of soggy ground on the path out to the clearing. As I had been out helping scout the area I ended up with the title of “Swamp Guide”, helping travellers navigate the few feet of treacherous bog. Unfortunately a few of the well wishers didn’t heed my warnings and ended up covered in gunk, so I grabbed a tarp and laid it over the area to at least keep feet clean. Keep in mind the whole time I was wearing my flip flops and shorts, as per usual, so my feet were a mess by the end of the ceremony.
The march to the wedding as seen from my inherited swamp
The wedding itself was a simple, quick affair that included dogs and kids running around our feet. It was a great ceremony and a great idea for a marriage, I’d love to do something similar out in nature. So after getting everyone out to the spot we promptly turned everyone around and got them back through the swamp, over the mud bridge, and safely back to the campsite, where the band was getting set up under a hastily constructed sun-shelter.
Testing sound for the bluegrass band.
While others were setting up tables with food, drink, flowers, and decorations I went over to a trailer to investigate some hummingbird feeders. Hummingbirds are one of my favourite animals for a multitude of reasons; they are some of the smallest birds out there, can hover and fly backward, have the highest metabolism of all animals, and just plain look beautiful.
Oh the shiny feathers, they get me every time…
I sat there for well over an hour, being extremely still so they would be comfortable enough with me to continue on with their normal activities. At one point I had 5 birds on my fingers and arm, all trying to get to the feeder. Here is a picture my mum took of one bird landing on my finger to get the sugar water out of the feeder.
One on my thumb, and another coming in for a landing
After a good amount of time I realised there was a second feeder above me, and the lighting got even better, allowing me to take a bunch of really great shots with my telephoto lens (40-300 zoom).
The lighting couldn’t have gotten any better!
Landing… the feathers on the wings are very interesting.
I’ve never seen so many hummingbirds at once (there were at least 8 but probably more), all zooming around the trailer and me, leaving, and coming back with more friends.
Four birds gathered at a feeder
After taking the pictures I felt like I learned a lot about the birds I didn’t know before, especially their anatomy. For example, the feathers on their backs and necks almost look more like scales than feathers in direct light (at least on this species).
What look like scales on the neck region
Many people came over to see what I was up to and were impressed by the show. But by now everything was set up food, dancing, and celebrating, so the hummingbirds were bumped from the spotlight. As with any wedding there were multitudes of flowers and foods to munch on.
Flowers upon flowers
After stuffing ourselves with dinner (or lunch?) I helped get out the champaign and naturally had to take a picture of it in the glasses, as it was getting later in the day and the light was shinning though it, creating amazing colours and reflections on the tabletops and within the plastic.
Little lights dancing in glasses
At last came the cake! I’m sure some of you were waiting to see what it looked like, as was I. (I won’t lie that tv shows like Cake Boss fascinate me, it’s amazing to see how creative people can be, making such works of art out of cake that will only be devoured a few hours later.) The cake was a simple chocolate one,
A cake in the same maner as the wedding itself.
The entire day was amazing, and I can only imagine what it felt like for our two friends. The thing that I remember most though is my time with the birds. I’m not sure if being graced by hummingbirds means anything at a wedding, but at least it provided one more bit of beauty on such a special day. I’m choosing to think so, and may there be many more hummingbirds in your future life together.
These birds bring happiness with them.
On a side note, does anyone know what species of hummingbird this is? It is indigenous to upper New Mexico/Colorado (unless its invasive but I dont think so), I’d love to know.
Photos taken with my Nikon D50 on July 28, 2012.