ImageSpotlight: Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

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Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

You may recall that in 2014 I wrote a blog post about “Making Hummingbird Backgrounds.” I’d actually be surprised if you remember that but you can enter those terms in the search tab if you care to refresh your memory. Anyway, two years later and those backgrounds are still in use. For the past two weeks, I’ve had female and juvenile ruby-throated hummingbirds but today, the male showed up. While I like the females and juveniles, it is the male with its iridescent gorget that gets photographers excited. Those brilliant colors add a dash of pop to the images.

To capture this photo, I used a 5 flash setup. Each flash was set at 1/16 power and placed in various positions to light the bird. I had one dedicated flash aimed at the background and 4 at the hummingbird. My camera (Canon 7D MkII) was set to Manual mode, ISO 200, f18, 1/250. I used a 70-200/2.8 with 1.4x converter. Because hummingbirds drink, move back and hover, then drink again, I prefocused on a spot where I anticipated the birds would hover. Each time the birds hovered, I pressed the shutter button. I’m looking to improve this image by adding an additional flash and incorporating a flower if I can find a suitable one at a nursery since there are no natural blooms around my home.

Until then, good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN

ImageSpotlight: And Still More Hummingbirds

 

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It won’t be long now before all the hummingbirds in my area migrate southward. However, while I still have a few visiting my feeders, I can’t help but continue to photograph these amazing little birds. If you sit and observe them long enough, you will come to identify their various personalities. They are apparently fearless, they travel to more states and/or countries than most people, and they are naturally adorned with iridescent colorful plumage that would make any fashion designer envious. For such a small bird, hummingbirds sure live large.

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On this particular day, my young daughter decided to have a go at photographing them so I handed her my cable release, gave her some instructions on letting them get a drink and firing when they move back and hover, then I sat back and enjoyed watching her capture her first hummingbird photos. I’d say she did alright. Her images are below.

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All images were captured with a Canon 7D, 70-200/2.8 lens at 200mm, ISO 320, f14, 1/200, and 4 flash heads. Click on an image for a better view.

Until next time, good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN

ImageSpotlight: More Hummingbirds

Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Canon 7D | ISO 400 | 70-200/2.8 @ 200mm | f14 | 1/160

Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Canon 7D | ISO 400 | 70-200/2.8 @ 200mm | f14 | 1/160

 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Canon 7D | 70-200/2.8 @ 200mm | ISO 400 | f14 | 1/160

Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Canon 7D | 70-200/2.8 @ 200mm | ISO 400 | f14 | 1/160

I’ll keep this post short. I do not know how much longer these hummingbirds will be here before migrating but I suspect a week or two at most. I think the males have already migrated as I’ve seen nothing but females at my feeder. Anyway, I’ve been enjoying them and working on my setups to improve my hummingbird photography. These were today’s best so I thought I’d share with everyone. Until next time, good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN

Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Canon 7D | 70-200/2.8 @ 200mm | ISO 400 | f14 | 1/160

Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Canon 7D | 70-200/2.8 @ 200mm | ISO 400 | f14 | 1/160

ImageSpotlight: Hummingbirds

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Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Canon 7D | 70-200/2.8 @ 200mm | ISO 100 | f10 | 1/200

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Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Canon 7D | 70-200/2.8 @ 200mm | ISO 320 | f13 | 1/80

Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Canon 7D | 70-200/2.8 @ 200mm | ISO 320 | f13 |1/80

Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Canon 7D | 70-200/2.8 @ 200mm | ISO 320 | f13 |1/80

I finally got some hummingbirds attracted to my feeder about a week ago. I let them get used to it and me hanging around and today I had plans on photographing them. With heavy rains, it looked like it was going to be a college football day instead. In spite of my alma mater’s televised game, when the rains stopped, I had about 1 hour of time left so I rushed to get setup. The only background I had was a glossy image and I had the hardest time with the glare but I did manage these three photos. Tomorrow I will try again, but this time I will find a flat mat board and give it a go. The hummers have been active at the feeder but hopefully I get them interested in some flowers instead. For now, this is what I have to share.

I used three flash heads each at 1/32 power to get these images. On a future post, I will photograph the setup as well. Until then, good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN