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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Birds 
Thread started 30 May 2009 (Saturday) 12:19
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1st Hummer

 
JanetS
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May 30, 2009 12:19 |  #1

Just got my XSi in December and have a lot to learn about photography and pp, but wanted to post my first attempt at capturing a hummingbird. Constructive criticism is welcomed!

IMAGE: http://jaten.smugmug.com/photos/550069948_BH7HG-XL.jpg


EXIF: 55-250 IS, 225mm, shutter priority - 1/400, 5.6, metering: center-weighted

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jgrussell
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May 30, 2009 12:30 |  #2

The shutter speed has to be a LOT faster for these babies. Flash will help.


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canonloader
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May 30, 2009 12:31 |  #3

My normal settings are Av Mode, AI Servo, ISO 400, F/5.6 or f/8, and I wait for sunlight on them. If you watch them, they take a sip, then back off, take another sip and back off to that same spot in the air. That is when you want to fire, when they are backed away from the feeder. Then you can crop the image to cut out the feeder. But you need more light and you need to get close so you can crop without adding a lot of noise.


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JanetS
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May 30, 2009 14:41 as a reply to  @ canonloader's post |  #4

Thank you both for the tips! Your suggestions will surely help a lot. Canonloader, how do you focus if you wait for the bird to back up a little? I'm sure my technique needs work! I focused on the perch that he kept coming to and waited.

I knew as I was snapping I would probably need more light; the feeder is in the shade & close to the house. I'll try to position another feeder in a spot that's a little more photo-friendly :)


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canonloader
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May 30, 2009 15:04 |  #5

how do you focus if you wait for the bird to back up a little?

I use a tripod, set up right here next to my desk. The feeder is just outside my window. I can aim at the feeder while sitting at my desk. The sun hits the feeder just after noon, so I wait till then. The most important thing here is, I use a tripod to hold the camera.

So I point it at the spot the bird has been backing up to. It may take a few times, but when you get the timing right, just press the shutter half way when the bird backs into the open and in a few attempts, you will get it in focus. next time it backs into focus, push the button. Get the rythym going and you can press every time it backs into the focus area. One point, you are going to throw out 8 out of 10 shots, but with digital, it's free.

Another way I used last year, was to shoot with a zoom, zoom out so the angle is wide enough to get the feeder and half a foot of open space next to it. Shoot the bird as it backs away, the same as before, but you have a lot more space, which you will just crop bigger in post processing to get the bird looking close. You need a nice sharp lens for this, but it does work.


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marjnap
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May 30, 2009 16:05 |  #6

Congrats on you first hummer. Great info Mitch.


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JanetS
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May 30, 2009 16:55 as a reply to  @ canonloader's post |  #7

I was using a tripod and cable release earlier, but I think waiting for the lighting was a HUGE tip as was cropping the feeder. Thank you!! What do you know? The feeder does get afternoon sun. The first one below is my favorite, but I also like having 2 hummers in the 2nd.

Great tips! I'll continue to practice. I just wanted to show I did listen :)

IMAGE: http://jaten.smugmug.com/photos/550217421_qyNFH-XL.jpg

IMAGE: http://jaten.smugmug.com/photos/550216971_G2qUa-XL.jpg

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canonloader
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May 30, 2009 17:03 |  #8

HAHA, yeah, now it's just a matter of practice. Love that second shot with two birds in it. I had two at my feeder the other day but missed the shot. If you have more than one bird in the yard though, you can add another feeder. They don't like to share. :)


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EdwardF
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May 30, 2009 17:05 |  #9

Something else you might want to consider is blocking all the other holes except the one that shows off the best light/colors. That way, the hummer is forced to use the one hole and makes it easier to focus.
Also, remove the perches, and by doing that, it forces the hummer to feed on the fly.
If you have more than one feeder, take the other down until you are finished, and that will also force all the other birds to the one feeder where you are waiting.


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JanetS
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May 30, 2009 20:49 |  #10

canonloader wrote in post #8018862 (external link)
HAHA, yeah, now it's just a matter of practice. Love that second shot with two birds in it. I had two at my feeder the other day but missed the shot. If you have more than one bird in the yard though, you can add another feeder. They don't like to share. :)

We are planning to add another feeder next time we make a Wally World run. Amazingly we had 3 hummers sitting peacefully and eating at this one feeder earlier while I was taking pics. Twice this happened, and both times a 4th one broke up the picnic when he tried to join the table.

I know I'd probably get better pics by removing the perches, but I've often read that hummers operate at the fringe of their energy level, so they really need to be able to rest while eating if possible. I'll just have to catch them as they approach for a landing.

At least a couple of the hummers go sit in a nearby oak tree between feedings. I can see them just sitting there! I hope by summer's end to have a longer lens to capture them sitting on the oak branch. :D

Thanks everyone for the pointers and encouragement!


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canonloader
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May 31, 2009 03:51 |  #11

Where are you located?


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JanetS
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May 31, 2009 07:19 |  #12

canonloader wrote in post #8021088 (external link)
Where are you located?

North Mississippi


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canonloader
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May 31, 2009 09:56 |  #13

So it is a Ruby Throated Hummingbird then. Just making sure. These are all females then. :)


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JanetS
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May 31, 2009 18:44 |  #14

canonloader wrote in post #8022084 (external link)
So it is a Ruby Throated Hummingbird then. Just making sure. These are all females then. :)

Yes, they are all Ruby Throated hummers. At least two males are around, but they weren't as photogenic....in other words, I got some pics, but nothing that even I would consider passable.

P.S. I enjoyed looking through your gallery earlier today. You've done some beautiful work. Now I have something to aspire to :)


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canonloader
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May 31, 2009 19:15 |  #15

Thanks for looking. I really do need to upgrade the pics in there though. I think all those are at least 2 years old. :)


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1st Hummer
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