A hummer lookin' right at ya!

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Steve

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This Lesser Violetear was captured in the cloud forests of Costa Rica. There are a lot of feeding stations in the area and this one happened to have an incredibly colorful bush with orange flowers behind it. You just couldn’t ask for a better backdrop! The hummer was checking us out and hovering with his face towards the camera. The trick here is using a small AF area and doing everything you can to keep the AF area on the head. I often use Single point or D9 on the D5/6 for this kind of work.

You can actually have some fun with shutter speeds here. The thing is, the shutter speed is more about wing blur than stopping the bird's motion when they hover (unless you drop to less than 1/500 or so, then it gets tricker). For this one, I was trying to freeze the wing enough to see some rough detail but still show little blur - so 1/2000th worked well. The thing is, you never know what poses they’re gonna give you as you fire away, so what I do is use at various shutter speeds during the shoot so I have a nice selection of images with different amounts “wing blur”. Nikon D5, 600mm, 1/2000th, F/5.6, ISO 9000 (the D5 handles those high ISOs with ease if you fill the frame).

face-to-face-hummer.jpg
 
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cj5thwheel

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Hey Steve I don't know how you get away with all these beautiful photographs I'm reading your books and I hope that it makes me just as good as you are but I doubt I'll get that good thank you Steve
 

ElenaH

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excellent shot, @Steve
Pied Kingfisher is staying in the air when looking down for the prey. The head of the bird doesn't move and it is possible to take the similar shots.
But I think that your shot is ore difficult becasue the the hummer moves his head, I assume.
You can see Piead Kingfisher in Chobe, for example.
 
Amazing one Steve! The whole image looks very vibrant thanks to the background being a different color than the hummer itself which really pops it out. I have never seen a hummingbird but would be good guess to think they are pretty small and to fill the frame with one would be amazing to look in the viewfinder itself let alone take images!! Would love one day to visit Costa Rica and watch them. :D :D
 

Steve

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excellent shot, @Steve
Pied Kingfisher is staying in the air when looking down for the prey. The head of the bird doesn't move and it is possible to take the similar shots.
But I think that your shot is ore difficult becasue the the hummer moves his head, I assume.
You can see Piead Kingfisher in Chobe, for example.
They're about the same in difficulty. The trick with those pied kingfishers is getting close enough to fill the frame and still have a good background. I don't have any hovering shots of that bird I particularly like (I'm not a fan of a sky background on that kind of shot), but I do have lots of "normal" flight shots of the pieds that I like.
 

Steve

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Amazing one Steve! The whole image looks very vibrant thanks to the background being a different color than the hummer itself which really pops it out. I have never seen a hummingbird but would be good guess to think they are pretty small and to fill the frame with one would be amazing to look in the viewfinder itself let alone take images!! Would love one day to visit Costa Rica and watch them. :D :D
This is a medium-size species, and you could comfortably perch one on each of your fingers :)
 
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