available light hummingbirds

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These are nowhere near the quality of butlerkid and coffee's images, but I figure I'd post'em anyway. The specifics are: shot in the shade w/ D700 and the 300 f/4 AF-S at ISO1600. Because I was using only available light, I believe I kept the aperature wide open on all of them. These were taken hand-held as my MIL's garden is rather large and I just had to stand on the edge of it and hope some of the hummingbirds (there were maybe ~10 at the busiest) were brave enough to get somewhat close. When they did, having the mobility of shooting without a tripod was necessary (for me) to spot a nearby hummingbird, raise the camera in that direction, aim the center focus point on their head, and fire away (hoping for the best!) :biggrin:

So, here is some of the results:

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Thanks for looking.
 
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Thank you, Ray! You are one of the folks that got me into birding, so I'm humbled by the compliment. You actually weren't too far away, as these were shot in my MIL's back yard in Central VT. :)
 
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Minnetonka, Minnesota
Those are some great captures!

We've recently had hummingbird visitors to our garden (to our bee balm, just like your shots), so I've been practicing trying to photograph them. Your hand-held shots look a lot better than my tripod-supported ones; I'm jealous! :biggrin:
 
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Southern NH
Those are some great captures!

We've recently had hummingbird visitors to our garden (to our bee balm, just like your shots), so I've been practicing trying to photograph them. Your hand-held shots look a lot better than my tripod-supported ones; I'm jealous! :biggrin:
Thank you, Greg. I started out trying with the tripod, but as quickly as they buzz around, it was more difficult to switch the thing around on it's axis. The >1/1000s shutter speed would compensate for the camera shake. Then I'd keep the camera by my chest and look left/right/center to see if any of them were nearby, and then lift it to my eye. In some cases I could take a burst of shots right then, and in others I would need to wait as it would hover from petal to petal until it got in an angle where it was visible. I also have some shots I like of it actually sipping from the flower, but I think folks enjoy seeing the entire bird, more. :)

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I'm going to have to plant some bee balm plants in my yard to see if they visit here, letting me have even more practice.
 
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Minnetonka, Minnesota
That second picture in your second set is really nice. I also see one of those funny little shiny beetles in that second picture - we have them on our bee balm as well. Funny little things - they stick out their hind leg at you if you disturb them; not a very effective defense against a human. :smile:

You're lucky that your hummers come during the day (around 2 in the afternoon if your camera clock is set right). We have one female that visits us, and it's like clockwork. The only problem is that it's always at 7:30 at night! So I'm stuck using flash (off camera, but still flash). It does afford me the ability to shoot more at like 1/100 or 1/125, but natural lighting would look nicer I think.

Maybe I'll leave a note on the flowers, asking her to come back when there's more light. :wink:
 
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Southern NH
Fantastic!!
Thank you, Steve.

Those look terrific! Makes me want to go birding and I don't even own a long tele lens.
You should---though, it is addicting. :biggrin: In some ways, photographing hummingbirds is cheaper in that you can get by with only as much as a 200mm or 300mm for reach (especially with DX). At least with natural light. If you go the flash route, it gets more expensive (but still less than trying to get 400 w/ decent aperature ;))

That second picture in your second set is really nice. I also see one of those funny little shiny beetles in that second picture - we have them on our bee balm as well. Funny little things - they stick out their hind leg at you if you disturb them; not a very effective defense against a human. :smile:

You're lucky that your hummers come during the day (around 2 in the afternoon if your camera clock is set right). We have one female that visits us, and it's like clockwork. The only problem is that it's always at 7:30 at night! So I'm stuck using flash (off camera, but still flash). It does afford me the ability to shoot more at like 1/100 or 1/125, but natural lighting would look nicer I think.

Maybe I'll leave a note on the flowers, asking her to come back when there's more light. :wink:
That's a bummer. Looks like you are shooting with a D50 (?)---guess the next logical step is to go the D300/D700 route for the AF. I have to believe that had to help tremendously (if not completely) in me getting these shots! :wink:
 
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Minnetonka, Minnesota
<snip>
That's a bummer. Looks like you are shooting with a D50 (?)---guess the next logical step is to go the D300/D700 route for the AF. I have to believe that had to help tremendously (if not completely) in me getting these shots! :wink:
Yeah, something D300-class is in the cards, but not for a bit. I had hoped to get 5 years out of the D50, but advances in technology make it difficult. :wink: But for now, I'll keep working on my skills, since I think that's still the biggest limiting factor, not necessarily the equipment. On the plus side, using flash tends to give me nice reflections off the iridescent feathers on the back

On the other hand, if only I had one of those new cameras that takes such nice pictures! :biggrin:
 

Butlerkid

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I beg to differ - you images are also very nice! My images #2 and #3 are natural light - and shooting hummers without flash is defintely tough!

Since I don't generally shoot moving objects, tracking hummers was a real challenge.

Nice captures!!
 
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Jan 18, 2008
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Victoria, BC
Really nice shots, well done.

They are really hard to catch well, I find. You managed to get a nice background too :) The bee balm must have been a bit isolated. I tried to get ones in Barbados, but the plants they were in were very busy and close together so couldn't really isolate well.
 
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Southern NH
I beg to differ - you images are also very nice! My images #2 and #3 are natural light - and shooting hummers without flash is defintely tough!

Since I don't generally shoot moving objects, tracking hummers was a real challenge.

Nice captures!!
Thank you, Karen. I'm not able to read the EXIF, but it looks like you got to use a bit more DOF on yours. They are great. It was moderately sunny, but this garden is under the canopy of a couple of large maple (I think) trees, so that provided some shade. It made it nice as far as the lack of blown highlights, but taking away some of the light, and I wasn't sure if I had enough SS (even at >1/1000 at ISO1600, but I was hoping to try and freeze their wings) so I kept it wide open. It was the first time I got to try them in motion. I can see how, like birding in general, can get addicting---especially if they are stopping by regularly.

Really nice shots, well done.

They are really hard to catch well, I find. You managed to get a nice background too :) The bee balm must have been a bit isolated. I tried to get ones in Barbados, but the plants they were in were very busy and close together so couldn't really isolate well.
Thank you, Maureen. Actually it is pretty dense. Here's a more "far away" shot:

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so I had to pick & choose when to take the shot, which in many cases was between plants. I posted the more isolated ones, but if you look at the larger gallery you'll see lots of OOF (and very OOF due to the shallow DOF) of the plants around the in-focus HB.
 
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Those are really, really nice shots. The detail & focus on the heads is just incredible. Makes me want to get a big lens and give it a shot. Thanks for sharing.
 
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Southern NH
Those are really, really nice shots. The detail & focus on the heads is just incredible. Makes me want to get a big lens and give it a shot. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, Steve. No time like the present! I'd say a 300 f/4 AF-S fits the bill great (for the money), but you can start "smaller" with something like the 70-300VR (stopped down to f/8 and in good light). I'm sure you can use the big glass for more than just birds, too... it works great for closeup portraits, too (as I've posted in the people forum before).
 
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Phoenix
Thank you, Steve. No time like the present! I'd say a 300 f/4 AF-S fits the bill great (for the money), but you can start "smaller" with something like the 70-300VR (stopped down to f/8 and in good light). I'm sure you can use the big glass for more than just birds, too... it works great for closeup portraits, too (as I've posted in the people forum before).
I'll give it a shot with my 70-200 plus 1.7x converter. Those "big" lenses scare me......I remember when cars cost less than that!
 
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Victoria, BC
Thank you, Maureen. Actually it is pretty dense. Here's a more "far away" shot:

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so I had to pick & choose when to take the shot, which in many cases was between plants. I posted the more isolated ones, but if you look at the larger gallery you'll see lots of OOF (and very OOF due to the shallow DOF) of the plants around the in-focus HB.[/QUOTE]

Yes I see, I think I need to head to that ranch sometime :) I am actually trying to sell up and move to Vancouver at the moment, so I wlll be a lot closer. Very well done.
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2009
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Birmingham, Al
These are absolutely beautiful. Excellent job capturing those fast little fellow and great stop action in the wings too. I lover hummers but have never even attempted to photography any. You make me want to get my camera out and give it a try.
 
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PA
Nice shots - I've been seriously considering planting a few "hummer friendly" plants in the back yard....gonna look into bee balm - thanks for sharing.
 
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Does your mother-in-law have hummingbird feeders or are the bee balm plants enough by themselves?
 
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