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More Hummers

3530 Views 33 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  fishphoto
I finally got my lighting the way I want it and the birds didn't seem to mind it. Now I have to try getting them at a real flower instead of a feeder.

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Gator_Nutz said:
Well gee. Now the only thing stopping me is a $10,000 lens. Heck fire. :)
So just use photoshop and replace the feeder flower with a real flower. Again...superb and most excellent shots Brett.
You don't actually need a big fast lens for these. If you sit still, they will let you get pretty close to them. Just look at yep's post. Also, I'm shooting at f10 for DOF so a fast aperture isn't a must have either. I just have a huge gap between 200mm and 600mm and chose to use the longer of the two. A lot of people shoot hummers with 300mm lenses.
The last hummer I posted was shot with my 70-200 2.8 on a tripod with a phottix remote trigger. I just am not sure of the focusing part. I focused on the feeder in hopes one would come out good.
I tried the above setup and also set my flash on a seperate tripod and triggered that with the skyports using a remote trigger on the camera but they didnt come out so good. I have been wanting to try again but just havent had the chance. My biggest problem is shutter speed and flash sync. I can only go to 1/200 on the sync and that isnt enought to freeze the wings, so static shots are all I can hope for so far.
Actually, sync speed isn't your problem (my camera's top sync speed is 1/250). I shot these at 1/100. The secret is to freeze the winds with the light, rather than shutter speed. It doesn't matter how long your shutter speed is because your flash duration is 1/10,000 of a second or less. That is what actually freezes the wings. In order to get such a fast duration, you need multiple lights powered waaay down. You also need to be doing this in the shade so that there isn't enough ambient light to expose the image when your flashes aren't firing. That's what causes ghosting. Check out those two links I posted for Rusty last night. They do a much better job of explaining this stuff than I do.
stargazer said:
My biggest problem is shutter speed and flash sync. I can only go to 1/200 on the sync and that isnt enought to freeze the wings, so static shots are all I can hope for so far.
That's why he turned his flashes down to 1/16th to avoid wing ghosting. Flashes regulate power by reducing the time they are on. So if at full power a flash is "on" for 1/100th of a second, it's only on for 1/200th at half power, 1/400th at quarter, and in this case 1/1600th at 1/16th power, Stop down enough to keep most (or all) natural light from exposing the frame, and all you get is light from the flash to expose the birdy, and only for 1/1600 of a second, so even though his shutter speed was 1/100, which is not fast enough to capture the wings,, the lights were only on for 1/1000th or so, freezing the scene.

"full power" at 1/100th is an estimate and changes by flash model, but you get the idea. At flash intensities of 1/128 or so you can freeze VERY fast motion, like the string on a weedeater going full throttle


Near as I can figure, the string is traveling about 600 Mph, and the camera is 4 feet away. My shutter speed was 1/250, so it was the flash that froze the motion, not the shutter. Note that this pic was taken in full sun, at F22 or so, but looks like night, because the only light that made it into the exposure was from the strobe.

Ah, fish photo you beat me to it.
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AHHA! I see what you are saying....Kinda like the old strobe lights from years back.....Ive been approching it all wrong....Thanks guys for the info....Ill give it a shot next time, I was wondering how in the heck to get the shutter speed up....but nothing I tried worked...I figured I just didnt have the capability to do it....

Yeah, it's totally opposite of what you think you should do. This is my first year to shoot hummers so all of this is new to me also. I was thinking speed speed speed, when all you really have to do is provide some light.
now you don't have to go to BBSP to shoot. saves enough money in gas to afford 37 flashes and a $10000 lens....

I am getting a bit spoiled by shooting in my back yard. It's too hot for BBSP right now anyway.
fishphoto said:
Where should I start...

That being said, you can go buy a bunch of cheap/old strobes and fire them via PC Sync cable.
Those are really nice shots (better than anything I've ever pulled off) but you don't have to spend $20k to get a useable hummer shot. Patience and setting up a stage is probably more valuable than equipment here. I use a feeder with 4 openings, I just duct tape off three of them so they are forced to go pretty much where I want them to. It's nice if you have the stuff but don't feel like you can't have some fun with hummers if you don't..

Personally instead of sync cables, I like to use the little $12 IR slave triggers I get off ebay or even the $15 110v flashes that are IR triggered. They work pretty well.

Maybe not perfect but here's a shot from my D50 with a $25 manual focus vivitar "close focus" zoom lens, $12 IR slave and a $25 used nikon sb-20 flash. Shot through my bedroom window with onboard flash to trigger the remote that was hanging from the roof via a coat hanger wire and a little duct tape.

Brett, I'd normally NEVER post a picture on someone elses thread but I don't want anyone to be discouraged to the point that they don't at least try a hummer shot with lesser gear. Hope you don't get mad at me..

Click image for the larger version (note the two catch lights in the birds eye).

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Actually, I was hoping you would join in and share some of your experiences with everyone.
Thanks for not throwing sticks at me! (-:}

Stick a "plastic bee" on the feeder and they will hover for 5 minutes waiting for it to leave.. (-:} At least long enough to focus a MF lens. I've wanted to try using "trap focus" but I just haven't had 30 minutes of spare time to try it. One of those things that seems like it should work but I have not done it.
Focusing has definitely been the hardest part for me. I've been manually focusing most of the time. Explain "trap focus" for me, it sounds interesting.
Trap focus is just presetting your focus and setting the camera to not take a picture until it gets focus lock (two menu clicks with a D200). Use bulb thing on a remote or just hold down the shutter button manually. Set the bulb, wait for something to enter the "focus box" when the camera gets a focus lock it allows the shutter to release.

Google "trap focus" and you will find a lot of info. Used to be popular with sports shooters. Set the focus manually, hold the shutter down, track the subject and when it gets into focus the shutter trips.

Look in your manual for "focus priority" or fire on focus, something like that..
That's what I thought it was. I'll have to give it a try. Hopefully we'll still have hummingbirds around here after Ike moves through.
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