Featured Artist Kathleen Elam

Photographer Kathleen Elam creates dramatic and detailed portraits of hummingbirds. Please visit her website to see more of her work.

 

“Paradise Found” Photography, Various Sizes by artist Kathleen Elam. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Paradise Found” Photography, Various Sizes

 

Spreading the joy, beauty and magic of hummingbirds is the intention of my photography. I have found through exhibiting my work that hummingbirds hold a deep meaning for so many people.

 

“Daffodil” Photography, Various Sizes by artist Kathleen Elam. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Daffodil” Photography, Various Sizes

 

Almost everyone has a hummingbird story. I have heard stories of hummingbirds at funerals and weddings and I am moved by how much emotion these extremely tiny birds can create.

 

“Flying Jewel” Photography, Various Sizes by artist Kathleen Elam. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Flying Jewel” Photography, Various Sizes

 

I have fed hummingbirds for many years and sometimes there will be over sixty hummingbirds at one time at my feeders. I love standing next to the feeders in order to feel the vibration of the wind from their wings.

 

Photographer Kathleen Elam and her subjects by artist Kathleen Elam. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

Photographer Kathleen Elam and her subjects

 

I try to capture the birds so the every detail can be seen. It was a lengthy process learning how to photograph them so that the wings were “frozen.” They are exceptionally fast little creatures and I have thousands of photographs with no bird in them.

 

“Dreamsicle” Photography, Various Sizes by artist Kathleen Elam. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Dreamsicle” Photography, Various Sizes

 

After months of frustration trying to photograph them in mid-air, I began attracting them with flowers, which made the process much easier. I typically use backdrops and control all of the light using programmable flashes. That is the only way to catch their wings in stop motion. It also helps to put sugar water in the flowers so that they linger just a little longer.

 

“Monochromatic Garden” Photography, Various Sizes by artist Kathleen Elam. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Monochromatic Garden” Photography, Various Sizes

 

There is a synergy that occurs with the bird and the flower that brings a special energy to the photograph.

 

“Poppy Time” Photography, Various Sizes by artist Kathleen Elam. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Poppy Time” Photography, Various Sizes

 

I take hundreds of pictures in the hopes of getting just one or two that I will share.

 

“Shaking Off the Rain” Photography, Various Sizes by artist Kathleen Elam. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Shaking Off the Rain” Photography, Various Sizes

 

I catch them doing some amazing acrobatics. I bring the pictures into Photoshop to create a work of art that will attempt to do justice to the beauty of the hummingbird.

 

“Orchid Attraction” Photography, Various Sizes by artist Kathleen Elam. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Orchid Attraction” Photography, Various Sizes

 

There are some people who don’t think that photographs should be manipulated in Photoshop, but even when photographers like Ansel Adams developed their pictures they used techniques to change colors and lighten and darken different areas of their photographs. I think being able to successfully create a beautiful photograph in Photoshop is an art unto itself. I continue to take online courses to become more proficient at it.

 

“Time to Taste the Tulips” Photography, Various Sizes by artist Kathleen Elam. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Time to Taste the Tulips” Photography, Various Sizes

 

Hummingbirds only live in North or South America, but I can see that visitors from all over the world visit my website to enjoy their beauty. Many have contacted me because they are mesmerized over these tiny creatures and want to know more about them.

 

“Touchdown” Photography, Various Sizes by artist Kathleen Elam. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Touchdown” Photography, Various Sizes

 

I so enjoy allowing people to see how beautiful these little flying jewels really are. My inspiration is evident as the hummingbird is one of the most amazing creatures on the planet. They gracefully live their lives in our midst and we are blessed. It is a privilege to have such magical, spiritual subjects for my photographs.

 

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Comments

  1. Gods creation so cleverly captured. Magic!

  2. Kathleen..
    Absolutely enthralling! Your photographs are superb — such life, such beauty, artistry!

    • Kathleen says:

      Thank you for your kind words….they are spiritual, magical beings and I am so honored to photograph them

  3. These photos really resonate with me, Kathleen! I LOVE HUMMINGBIRDS and they are my totem of the East. We attract hundreds to my home every spring and summer. I know from first hand experience that they are THE most difficult subjects to photograph. You have elevated your shots to FINE ART. I have goosebumps and now I am missing my little cuties even more. If anyone is interested, I have a guide for people wanting to attract their own little band of cuties. Thanks for sharing your inspirational art! See Five Steps To Happy Hummingbirds here – http://www.sandysandyart.com/p/blog-page.html

    • Hi Sandy,
      I really enjoyed your article and will pass it on to others. It was very well written and the pictures are excellent. I am glad you stressed the commitment aspect. They are the most spectacular of birds. I think it is awesome that you feed so many.

  4. Kathleen your work is stunning! I think it is terrific how you use Photoshop. It is just a tool like any other and it allows you to put the focus on the birds. How you use it is part of your art, your amazing art!

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