Hover: Hummingbirds in the United States


Over the holidays I buy an iBook (download) called Hover: Hummingbirds in the United States. Yesterday I take the opportunity to hear how the book came to be.  I appreciate knowing  creative process – always different but somehow always the same. Idea appears, problems arrive, commitment leading to creative solution takes hold, and results  (not always clear) show up.

This book has its own unique story. It is designed for children but you can trust me when I tell you adults will enjoy it. The interactive book includes pictures, text, soundbites and video. For me, the best parts of the book are the comparison of  both the real-time and slow motion video. Observing hummingbirds captured in slow motion is a true joy, to say the least.

Naturalist Maria Mahar and photographer Thomas Strich drop in to talk Carolyn’s (Lavender) morning drawing class.  Her students meet before my afternoon class and Carolyn invites me to come in early to catch the presentation. I  enjoy it so much, I ask if they can stay and share their creative process with my group.

Maria opens the slide presentation ↓ telling about a hummingbird’s nest that appears in front of her son’s bedroom window. He loves it and they enjoy watching it. One thing leads to another, involved are research, camera, video equipment, outlines, sketches, travel and several years of work and lots of patience. She explains her vision begins one way with wanting to capture the glamour of the hummingbird. And then she explains, video allows her to catch the birds in a more true light, picking up footage she did not expect to see. The birds are beautiful and have many qualities.

I recall Tom first telling me about their project. He calls it a labor of love for Maria. And after hearing her speak, I know this to be true.


The presentation starts ; Through the Window 

Maria shows an example ↓ of how she set up chapters – that include both text and image.


A photo ↓ of how Tom sets up cameras to capture photographs and video. IMG_8587

I hope my students grasp Maria and Tom never really know how things are going to play out. Maria does explain this to them. She meets many challenges along the way and together with Tom, they arrive at solutions. I point out to my students on a regular basis about the investing of time and care into their work – this kind of process can lead to fine and creative results. This afternoon presentation is an example of that.

For more info visit → Hover: Hummingbirds in the United States
Here is a sample of video you’ll find on the website and in the iBook.

2 thoughts on “Hover: Hummingbirds in the United States

  1. Thank you, Monica. You have captured it: how one thing led to another, how the subject led us in an unforeseen direction, and how problems arose but were solved over time.
    Though I have watched artists at work over many years, I did not expect to follow a similar path to create a non-fiction ebook.
    We were so glad to speak to your class and to Carolyn’s class. Thank you for the opportunity and the kind words.

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