Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hummingbird Photography Part1 Intro

Everything about Hummingbirds is fascinating, there different than other birds in so many ways, there wings and hearts beat way faster, they can run there metabolism full speed while searching for food or slow it way down while resting or sleeping to conserve energy. They don't walk and fly even to move a couple of inches.

You hear them more than see them since they move so fast, we put out feeders to bring them close to us so we can see them and enjoy them.
Hummingbird photography wings back on Caliope

Wouldn't it be nice to take a picture of one and print it out bigger than life size so we can get a good look at one, see there jewel like colors, get a good look at those claws they keep tucked in when flying, see there eyelashes, see the things we will never see since there so small and there really not going to let you walk up to them for a good look.
Rufous Hummingbird perched on a small branch

Its really not that hard to take pictures of them, there is just a few things you need to know to get good ones, but every picture is a surprise since they move so fast in the time it takes your brain tell you finger to press the shutter button and the camera takes the picture the wings probably have beaten in there figure eight pattern a couple of dozen times, so you never know if the wings are going to be up or forward covering the face, there is a certain amount of randomness to how each picture will come out, you can even just let the wings blur till there transparent all depending on the look you want.

Taking good pictures of Hummingbirds takes some planning, chasing them around usually doesn't work, they end up too small in the frame and blurry.
Hummingbird photography catching Rufous at flower

So its best to decide on ahead of time the elements of the picture that you have control of, somethings you can't control like the position of the wings so you just have to take lots of pictures cull out the bad ones and keep the good ones.
Hummingbird photography set up the hose spray and wait for the to come

The things you can control are:

Position of the bird.
Angles between camera and the bird.
How much the Hummingbird fills the frame.

Once your in control of the lighting you can decide if you want frozen wings or a nice transparent blur like you see them in the wild.

But if you don't have any Hummingbirds it would be really hard to take there picture so Part 2 will be how to attract hummingbirds.


Costaricafinca said...

Just viewed your wonderful photos of the rufous hummers. I used to live in Nelson, BC We now live in Costa Rica where we have 8-9 species...some of them are so similar...but don't use feeder just my flowers for them to feed at.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I were just drooling over your hummingbird photos--they are too gorgeous for words!