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Yellowhead

Humming birds

4 posts in this topic

I've never had much of an opportunity to photograph hummers in the past. This summer there have been a lot of them hanging around so I decided to give it a try. Perched birds are no problem but filght shot are an other story. I've posted my best effort to date and its not great. Any tip on shooting these little guys would be appreciated.

TRipod mounted Nikon D90 1/4000 ISO 1250, Sigma 50-500 at 500 f8, 50% crop

hummer-8.jpg

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Actually, that's a pretty good capture. However, you could have probably reduced the ISO some to better handle the noise. It does take a very fast shutter speed to freeze everything, but there is nothing wrong with wing blur.

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Actually this appears as if you underexposed the shot and tried to bring darkness of the bird back in post processing, thus introducing the noise. ISO 1250 from your camera should not have that much noise. You can also see the haloing around the bird often a result of shadow recovery, dodging or oversharpening.

You need to have your camera set up in an area the birds are using, a feeder for example. If you use a feeder block all the holes except the one you will be taking photos of. You can also mount a flower or flowers on the feeder extending out for the bird to feed from for a more natural look. Pre-focus your camera on that spot and wait for the bird to fly into that zone. Pay close attention to your backgrounds when you set up your feeder to give you a more pleasing photo. Shoot when the bird flies into your "zone".

I like around 1/800 to 1/1000 of a second shutter speed to give you some nice wing blur so set up your ISO and aperture to get you in that ballpark. You can also use flash to provide a bit of fill but I would concentrate on getting a good setup before you introduce other elements to your shooting.

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The position and open beak are nice. Now just those tricky timing and processing issues. I tried some this weekend, but lighting wouldn't allow a fast enough shutter speed to get even the body sharp. I wish I could have returned in the early morning sun. A tripod would have helped, as well. Fun, isn't it?

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