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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk 
Thread started 15 Apr 2012 (Sunday) 01:34
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Hummingbird photog help

 
mndoci
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Apr 15, 2012 01:34 |  #1

So we tried something new today. Our feeder is usually visited as the light starts fading on the side of the house where we have the feeder and getting pictures of our resident hummingbirds gets tough. So today, I decided to put my flash triggers to the test. The results were not so good. For one, I think I overdid the Flash exposure compensation. In general the lighting seems off. Any insights into making these better would be much appreciated. I am not used to flash photography, and definitely not trying to do it on hummingbirds.

1. The light was still OK when I took this.Took this at 1/1600 and this is by far the best

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7040/7078972743_b9eb602174_z.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/mndoci/70789727​43/  (external link)
IMG_8334 (external link) by mndoci (external link), on Flickr

2. This one was same conditions as the previous one. Shutter speed was at 1/2000
IMAGE: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5454/6932898252_9378e9114e_z.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/mndoci/69328982​52/  (external link)
IMG_8336 (external link) by mndoci (external link), on Flickr

3. Then it got a little darker and these pictures are pretty bad. Had to bring the exposure down as far as I could in PP. This one is 1/1600. A pity since the bird posed a bit and we could have got some great ones.

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7278/6932898872_0168640d23_z.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/mndoci/69328988​72/  (external link)
IMG_8378 (external link) by mndoci (external link), on Flickr

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kevindar
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Apr 15, 2012 01:46 |  #2

Nice attempts
First off, you are too far away. these are shot with 7d and 100-400L. MFD of the lens is 1.8 meters, and at mfd, the bird should just about fill your entire frame. Get closer. Hummers are not timid birds and when they get used to you, they have no problem feeding with your 6 feet away.
second, is the of shoe flash the source of your light from behind the bird? thats not great placement. Honestly, nothing wrong with using a hot shoe flash. Set the flash to manual. you can have it in high speed synch, or just have it at normal max synch speed of 1/250. at mfd, try to shoot at f8-f11, iso 400, 1/16 to 1/32 power on a 430 ex. depending on how much light you have on your background, you should have decent exposure from the background. having the flash on the hot shoe, will allow you to get a nice reflection off of him.
Here is a shot where the background is very much underexposed. subject is exposed entirely by flash.

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7053/7059258657_50e3aa20ec_b.jpg
here is one, where the bird was in shadow, but background in the sun. the flash is what exposes the bird. the background is exposed by the sun.
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7080/6915197218_d854c040f7_b.jpg

and here are two entirely exposed by available light
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7082/7036282047_c79c909844_b.jpg
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7072/7061837081_3c11dc8da0_b.jpg

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mndoci
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Apr 15, 2012 01:59 |  #3

kevindar

Thanks a ton. The source of the light is the off-shoe flash. Looks like I should have kept the flash on the hot shoe and been a lot closer. Also really need to learn how to use the flash. I used it very naively without really doing any setup.


Should probably get a monopod too. My wife did the bulk of the shooting, although I did all the flash set up, and that's a heavy setup for her for 5-10 minutes.


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kevindar
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Apr 15, 2012 02:11 |  #4

yeah, I always use my monopod. have it at eye level. when i am that close, dof is very thing, even at f8. I prefocus usually and many times dont readjust the focus. having the monopod really helps with all of this, b/c I am staying at the same spot.
there is a guy who does amazing hummer shots, at f22 with 5 strobes. thats just too much work for me.


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mndoci
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Apr 15, 2012 02:16 |  #5

kevindar wrote in post #14267879 (external link)
yeah, I always use my monopod. have it at eye level. when i am that close, dof is very thing, even at f8. I prefocus usually and many times dont readjust the focus. having the monopod really helps with all of this, b/c I am staying at the same spot.

Sounds like a plan. Gives me an excuse to get one :). I wuld love to get that thin DOF.

kevindar wrote in post #14267879 (external link)
there is a guy who does amazing hummer shots, at f22 with 5 strobes. thats just too much work for me.

Way too much work for me :).


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mek501st
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Apr 15, 2012 05:51 |  #6

kevindar wrote in post #14267808 (external link)
Nice attempts
First off, you are too far away. these are shot with 7d and 100-400L. MFD of the lens is 1.8 meters, and at mfd, the bird should just about fill your entire frame. Get closer. Hummers are not timid birds and when they get used to you, they have no problem feeding with your 6 feet away.
second, is the of shoe flash the source of your light from behind the bird? thats not great placement. Honestly, nothing wrong with using a hot shoe flash. Set the flash to manual. you can have it in high speed synch, or just have it at normal max synch speed of 1/250. at mfd, try to shoot at f8-f11, iso 400, 1/16 to 1/32 power on a 430 ex. depending on how much light you have on your background, you should have decent exposure from the background. having the flash on the hot shoe, will allow you to get a nice reflection off of him.
Here is a shot where the background is very much underexposed. subject is exposed entirely by flash.
QUOTED IMAGE
here is one, where the bird was in shadow, but background in the sun. the flash is what exposes the bird. the background is exposed by the sun.
QUOTED IMAGE

and here are two entirely exposed by available light
QUOTED IMAGE
QUOTED IMAGE

Really amazing shots!!!!! I wish there were hummingbirds in my part of the world.


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jhayesvw
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Apr 19, 2012 00:21 as a reply to  @ mek501st's post |  #7

I have a 60d and 100-400
I almost always use a monopod now.
I have found that the smallest shake can produce softness with these 18mp sensors.

so, keep your SS high and get used to that flash.
(or move to AZ, we have bright light and hummers all year!)



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mndoci
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Apr 19, 2012 07:09 |  #8

jhayesvw wrote in post #14290734 (external link)
I have a 60d and 100-400
I almost always use a monopod now.
I have found that the smallest shake can produce softness with these 18mp sensors.

so, keep your SS high and get used to that flash.
(or move to AZ, we have bright light and hummers all year!)

Monopod is en route


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Duane ­ N
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Apr 19, 2012 14:11 as a reply to  @ mndoci's post |  #9

My suggestion would be to place the feeder in an open area where you can take advantage of natural light if at all possible. I don't use flash in my photography but I've seen some interesting set-ups using multiple flashes. One thing I found interesting was a flash is used on the background as well so it's not so dark. Also, use a tripod if possible because even with a monopod Hummingbirds move quick and the more support you have the better.

Most of my Hummingbird images are feeder shots but I wait for them to back up from it...I also remove the things they can sit on and feed at the feeder.

Just an example of one at the feeder...

IMAGE: http://duanenoblick.zenfolio.com/img/s5/v4/p269037755-4.jpg


The feeder is just to the left in this image.

IMAGE: http://duanenoblick.zenfolio.com/img/s11/v28/p436831547-4.jpg


Both of these are with natural light shot in the late afternoon. (sorry about the watermark).

I also buy potted plants and place them near the feeder area and the few Hummingbirds I do have will check out the flowers.

IMAGE: http://duanenoblick.zenfolio.com/img/s11/v29/p493351081-4.jpg


Just a note...the red, pre-made Hummingbird food doesn't attract the Hummingbirds....the color of the flowers do. There's also been studies done about the dye used in that type of food and some say it's bad for their kidneys. Either way....1 part sugar to 4 parts water is very easy to mix up.

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jhayesvw
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Apr 19, 2012 22:00 as a reply to  @ Duane N's post |  #10

I actually did a study on hummingbirds when I was in college.
I found that they hit the red feeders about 70% more than any other color feeder.
Im not sure why.
I took all other variables out of the equation. They must just like red, but I didnt use red food. I just used sugar water in the 20% mentioned above.

great advice in here.

to comment on Duane's post, yes a tripod will be more supportive but a monopod does very well and is more maneuverable.
I have a ballhead on top of mine and it works great.



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mndoci
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Apr 19, 2012 22:08 |  #11

jhayesvw wrote in post #14296168 (external link)
I actually did a study on hummingbirds when I was in college.
I found that they hit the red feeders about 70% more than any other color feeder.
Im not sure why.
I took all other variables out of the equation. They must just like red, but I didnt use red food. I just used sugar water in the 20% mentioned above.

great advice in here.

to comment on Duane's post, yes a tripod will be more supportive but a monopod does very well and is more maneuverable.
I have a ballhead on top of mine and it works great.

Yep, I am going with sugar water too. The flowers are coming out in the tree near the feeder, so should be interesting


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Hummingbird photog help
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