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Pair of hummers
Lens: Tamron 75-250mm Camera: K200d Photo Location: Backyard ISO: 400 Shutter Speed: 1/125s Aperture: F5.6 
Posted By: Jools, 07-22-2010, 11:37 PM

These are a pair of hummers I took late this afternoon. Not the best light given the storms that were upon us. No cropping but some minor PP.

My goal was to test the Cactus V2S wireless outfit and a Sunpak 266 flash, off camera about 10 feet and with a homemade diffuser, under these conditions.

Just wondering what others suggest. I'm a newbie to hummingbirds/flash and they are obviously fast. Still looking for the illusive frozen in action hummingbird picture. Don't know if I have the equipment to reach my goal.

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07-23-2010, 10:08 AM   #2
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Two lovely shots !

They do seem a little noisy for 400 ISO so I guess these have been heavily cropped ?

I'd try and get that speed up above 1/125 to more like 1/320 to maintain some wing blur but enhance sharpness in the rest of the bird. 1/1000 or more to stop it. And maybe F8.0 if possible for extra DoF.
07-23-2010, 12:49 PM   #3
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Hi Jools---Considering that you were using 1/125 sec the pics are really good.As to using special equipment all that I used for my shot was my Vivitar $90 flash and my K20d with a $149 Quantaray 70-300mm lens from about 8ft away.The flash has varied power modes and I used the yellow setting which gives not much light but the duration of flash is 1/30,000 sec according to specs.Humming birds are very friendly and if you're patient you can get shots from just several feet away.--charliezap
07-23-2010, 01:59 PM   #4
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i never tire of seeing these beauties... thanks for sharing... dave m

07-23-2010, 04:32 PM   #5
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Jools, the throat on the male in the first shot is really nice but I like the second one the best. I agree with dave m; I never tire of seeing the hummers.
07-23-2010, 04:48 PM   #6
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I always like to see hummers too, and these are all nice shots. I think I like #2 better.

To stop their wings, you have to get 1/1000 shutter speed or better, believe me I've tried everything under that long ago with film, and the only way I can get that kind of shutter speed is in good sunlight. I'm sure some flash units will do it, but the ones I have (admittedly all el cheapo units) won't even come close so I've never tried hummers with a flash.

What Charliezap says is true, hummers will let you shoot from only a few feet away if you are patient. They don't seem to be bothered much by us large humans, as long as we don't make any sudden moves. I usually try to shoot them from about 4 or 5 feet if possible. Set up a chair, sit there and wait. Move slowly. If you have a cap or shirt with a red logo about the size of a baseball, a hummer will eventually zoom up and hover a foot or two from it, trying to figure out if it's a flower. I've never gotten a picture this way, but have gotten some really nice up close views...

Charliezap - I like that shot too, I'm thoroughly unfamiliar with using a flash, even after 30 years of film photography, just never got the hang of it, I'd love to be able to get that kind of results, most of mine turn out wrongly exposed...
07-23-2010, 05:26 PM   #7
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Original Poster
Thanks folks for some great info and comments. Hummingbirds are simply beautiful to watch and good to see others like them too. Charliezap beautiful capture and thanks for the flash info.

Yeah, I have always liked hummers but never bothered to capture them on film or digital. Until last summer, when our new house was flocked by hummers but I was working with a Fuji Finepix P&S and my results of capturing hummingbirds were not the best but encouraging. The limitations I felt then compelled me to get into Pentax. So the learning curve is still steep but its fun.

I realize that to solidly freeze an HB in flight requires high shutter speeds. And despite my questioning my equipment in my OP, the secret, really, is having great light and being adequately situated to that light (with or without flash).

Since the summer is still here and sugar is plentiful, back to the backyard lab to see what I can get.

Paleo Pete, I am in the same boat regarding flash. Had been using film for about the same period of time always fearing flash. But with the digital age, I'm gonna beat the beast. It's more tame than it looks. That's my first impressions.

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