Today lets talk about bird photography basics. When taking photos on a daily basis working for a studio, the general rule was to never disclose information on anything. Technique, settings, lighting, nothing was to be discussed at all. Now I capture images for the sheer fun of creating, experimenting, and sharing with all of you. When I meet people at events I love to answer questions about how I have created an image. I believe creative knowledge and ideas are something to share. We all learn from each other.
” How did you do that?” When I meet all of you, this is the most asked question.
I love to share how I create my images. I will talk about gear, lighting, technique you name it!
Lets talk about the hummingbirds!
Above all, bird photography can be challenging and rewarding at the same time.
When I first started, I missed most of my shots! I will share with you techniques that I find to work well.
Most of the hummingbirds I photograph are in my own back yard. First, I started with just being out in the back yard when the birds would start to come around. I brought out the camera when they became used to me. If you have space to plant, and the time to do so, choose plants that hummingbirds like, such as: Red Cardinal Flower and Trumpet Honeysuckle. I recommend consulting with your local nursery for native plants that attract hummingbirds. A feeder also helps. Once you notice the birds are starting to visit…. Let the fun and challenge begin! Watch and notice the flight pattern your birds are taking to approach a flower or feeder. I find they repeat the pattern again and again.
Settings and gear.
Hummingbirds move fast! Set the camera faster! Hummingbirds flap their wings at about 53 beats per second. With that in mind , always choose a fast shutter speed. It is helpful to use aperture priority in this case. If full manual is your thing, go with that, just keep in mind to stop those wings not to let the shutter seed drop too much. This image for example is shot at F6.3@1/2000. The time was later in the day, birds like to feed in the AM and PM, so with the fading light I upped my ISO 1250 and pushed the EV to +5 to avoid too much grain. I will take a few light readings and test shots on my prediction of the birds approach pattern. Once I have done that I carefully look at and evaluate exposure and focus. Remember, your histogram is a great tool! Once I have established a good exposure, again keeping that shutter speed up the rest is just patience.
Fun and fascinating! Practice, practice and patience are also ingredients to capturing images of birds.