‘Hummingbirds and Flowers: Photographs by Ian Reid ‘ Now Showing at the Library

Hummingbirds and Flowers: Photographs by Ian Reid

 June – September 2024

Ian Reid has been a photographer for many years studying and practicing a variety of techniques and subjects, including black and white and color landscapes, wildlife and people. His most recent consuming interest is photographing hummingbirds, especially as they visit the many varieties of flowering plants from around the world in San Francisco Botanical Garden.  

On exhibit at the Helen Crocker Russell Library June through September 2024, his work is a study in patience, perseverance and observation with photos that reveal the diversity of flowers combined with charming images of hummingbirds as pollinators.

“The photographs in this exhibition were taken at San Francisco Botanical Garden and our home garden at Golden Gate Heights, where we have planted natives from California and the Southern Hemisphere.”

Photographs by Ian Reid

Annas Hummingbird and Sacred Flower of the Incas
Annas Hummingbird and Helene Strybing Tea Tree
Annas Hummingbird and Glandular Senna
Mariposa Lilies

Artists’ Statement – Hummingbirds as Pollinators

In many regions of the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego there are thousands of plant species adapted for pollination by hummingbirds. These plants’ flowers have characteristics that attract hummingbirds. They provide them with nectar needed to fuel their rapid metabolism, and deposit pollen on parts of their bodies where it can be transferred to the stigma of another flower. The nectar-seeking birds thus bring about flower pollination, essential to plant reproduction.  

The hummingbirds, with their long bills, extensile tongues and ability to hover on the wing, are specialized for feeding on flowers. This interaction between hummingbirds and their flowers is a classic example of co-adaptation.  

There are hundreds of hummingbird species in the Americas, mostly in central and South America. In San Francisco we generally see just two: Anna’s, Calypte anna, and Allen’s, Selasphorus sasin. I have been photographing hummingbirds and flowers for many years, initially as separate subjects, but eventually as one. The photographs in this exhibition were taken at San Francisco Botanical Garden and our home garden at Golden Gate Heights, where we have planted natives from California and the Southern Hemisphere.

About the Artist 

Photography has been an important part of my life for many decades. I started with black and white film, eventually setting up my own darkroom. I was fortunate to move to the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1970’s when it was a hotbed of photography, largely black and white, strongly influenced by Ansel Adams, the Westons, Wynn Bullock and other luminaries. I attended workshops by Ansel, Cole Weston, Morley Baer, and others. I subsequently moved on to color film which I developed and printed in my darkroom. In a search for better color and permanence I set up the dye transfer process. But then came the transition to digital photography, with my darkroom being replaced by Lightroom.

My subjects are diverse and include landscapes, birds and other wildlife, flowers, trees and people. These interests have led me to several countries and regions including the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Arctic and Antarctic. 

I am currently Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physiology at UCSF. 

Visit the Library

No admission is required to visit the new art exhibit in the Library. The Library is located inside the Main Gate of San Francisco Botanical Garden on the left-hand side.

Marissa Fong

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