Hummingbirds are fascinating and beautiful…the perfect subject to photograph…and one of the most challenging.
This is an image I captured early last Saturday morning (6/24/11). I spent a couple of hours and snapped more than 400 photos to come up with a handful of worthwhile images.
Snapping more than 400 photos sounds a lot harder than it was. My camera has a setting that allows me to press and hold the shutter button and take up to 10 frames per second. With that kind of speed, you can knock out an SD card full of images pretty quick.
The greatest challenge, at least for me, is to capture the birds in focus. When in flight, they are constantly zipping in and out, back and forth, up and down. I had an embarrassing amount of empty frames, where the bird had left the field of view before I could snap…or stop snapping. When I did catch the bird in the frame, they often were blurry.
With enough patience, some experimentation and a bit of dumb luck, I was able to get a few “keepers.” This is a good example. I’ll be posting a few more in the next few days, so check back.
(Click the image to see a larger version.)
This is my favorite hummingbird photo of the year…so far. I’ve been trying to capture the hummingbirds that frequent the feeders at our house this spring. I’ve been able to grab a few images that I’ve liked. However, the best of them have been images of birds perched on a feeder. (See my earlier posts – Intense Eater and All Puffed Up)
My ultimate photographic goal is to capture them in flight. I want to freeze their little wings so that you can see the detail of every feather. (A nearly impossible task for an amateur like me.)
This photo doesn’t achieve my ultimate goal – to capture the detail of the hummingbird’s wings – but it captures my soul. I don’t want this to come across as bragging. I realize not everyone will find this image as compelling as I do. (Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?) But to this beholder, this image is like something from a dream.
I took this in the early morning light (around 5 am). The angle and quality of the sunrise lighting gives it depth. I think the colors are wonderful. The bird’s head being in focus while the rest of the body is slightly out of focus draws your attention to it’s stare; it’s character. (I also love its little feet.) Add the background blur and the whole image takes on an artistic quality. The overall effect reminds me of a watercolor painting.
Adding to the wonder of it all (at least for me) is the fact that I did very little to this image in post-processing. Aside from cropping and increasing the contrast a smidge, this is the image that came out of the camera. (My Sony SLT-A55 with the standard kit lens.)
This is one you’ll want to see closer. Just click on the photo to view a larger version.
It was about 5:30 am on a cool Wisconsin spring morning – 37 degrees. This female ruby-throated hummingbird paused in the early morning sun and puffed up her feathers in an effort to stay warm. Of course, she was only there for a few moments before zipping away again.
(You may be able to see a larger version of this image by clicking on it.)
I had a few minutes before I had to shuffle off to work this morning. I decided to sit still by the window and try to grab a good hummingbird photo or two.
This is a male ruby-throated hummingbird intent on downing his breakfast. I love the way the low angle of the sun strikes and highlights the tiny feathers.
This is one of three good images I captured in this 15 minute setting. I’ll post the others soon, so check back.
Feel free to share this image with friends.
(Click the photo to view a larger version.)