Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hummingbird Photos: How its Done

Yesterday I posted photos of female/immature Ruby-throated Hummingbirds with the promise of following with a post of how it's done.  Photographing a hummer at a flower brings with it the problem of how to get the birds coming to the one flower where you are set up.  Trying to chase these little speedsters around while they go from flower to flower would be a futile effort.

The setup began with a red Canna Lily placed in a mason jar set in a well lighted location.  Hummers are attracted more so to red than to any other color.

Spritzing the flowers with sugar water added to the photographic appeal of the flowers and made the flowers irresistible to the tiny birds.  Occasional spritzing throughout the shoot kept the flowers fresh and inviting. 

After giving the hummers a couple of hours to find my single flower it was time to set up and begin shooting.  Using the Canon 60D and 100-400mm lens at nearly minimum focus distance gave an acceptable image size.  All photos were shot at ISO 500 and F5.6 in order to achieve a shutter speed of between 1/1500 to 1/3000.  Even at 1/3000 the shutter was not fast enough to completely stop the rapid wing beats.

Below are more shots of these incredibly agile little birds.  Enjoy! 






15 comments:

Bruce Clark said...

Thanks for the insider tips Coy. Love the shots.

Lois Evensen said...

Your system certainly produces fantastic results for you. The images are incredibly wonderful. Thanks for sharing the tips.

Elaine said...

Very clever! You are very good at setting up your shots. You captured some fantastic images of the hummingbirds. Thanks for sharing your techniques.

Montanagirl said...

Thanks for the info Coy. Your shots are well thought out and "superb"! What setting did you use on the camera? Did you have it on Tv?

JimB said...

Very informative writeup. Absolutely wonderful photos of the hummers.

Jim

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

These pictures are amazing in beauty and clarity.

Robin said...

Coy, great setup and great shots! I do like capturing these little guys too!

Arija said...

You really are a master of the art and sneaky in entrapment as well. Nice of you to reveal your conjuring trick.

Kjell T. Evensen said...

Great shots, great setup, and thanks for the tips.

TexWisGirl said...

wow. pure art. pixies caught on camera. :)

Coy said...

Thanks everyone. I'm thrilled that so many enjoyed seeing how I captured these shots and hope to have inspired some of you to try the same.

Montanagirl,
Most of these shots were metered manual. The darker background in most of the shots caused the bird & flower to be over exposed in any auto mode thus it was necessary to meter on the flower manually.

Normally I use AV mode, changing the aperture and/or ISO to achieve the desired shutter speed, and DOF, but in situations like this manual is the only way to go.

Montanagirl said...

Thanks for the info Coy. The photos are fabulous!

River Mud said...

Damn, that is brilliant!

Leedra said...

Such a wonderful post, with trully awesome photography. Thanks for sharing the information.

eileeninmd said...

You are good, awesome photos.