Friday, August 14, 2015

Cuteness Overload

I finally got around to starting to shoot hummingbirds again. Thought I had better do it before they leave, which really isn't all that far off when you think in weeks. I liked the rich colors in this image including the feathers on her head and back end.

It often takes me a while before I hit my stride with shooting a subject. There are particular poses, lighting, background colors and other elements you consider, then try to either arrange or be ready for when they happen since posing a bird is actually not possible. The best you can do is try to encourage them. For example, there are four "blossoms" on this feeder and the birds will often try to hide on the back side and sip out of the one that is hidden from sight. By putting a little pebble in the "flower" I can discourage that behavior.

Lighting is one of the most difficult aspects to address. You almost have to shoot at 1/2000 second or faster to stop wing motion. It is not possible to get that kind of shutter speed, though, in the shade. I have created a system where I have a rope strung across the yard and I can move the "props" so that I can stay in the sun as much as possible.

Of course, the hummingbirds don't always cooperate. Hummingbirds sampling flowers in a basket look more natural than at a feeder. So, I hang a basket of flowers near the feeder where I hope they will pause on their way to the feeder to sip nectar and, instead, they hit a basket of flowers hanging on the porch like this one did.

This is more like the lighting I would like to capture. The bird and feeder are in the sunlight. Because the background is in the shadows, the effect is very dramatic. I shot a couple hundred images over the better part of the day to get this one shot.

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