Hummers are so elusive!

OK all you crazy women… I just had to share this image with you.  As you all know, Lorraine’s husband Mike has been instrumental in helping Lorraine learn about her new camera and photography in general and he has also shown interest in our blog.  Now as you will remember, Lorraine has gone above and beyond to get her shot of the rose for the first challenge, Shoot Something You Love, and then again arranged for a fire engine to be delivered to a certain place to photograph while poor Disc 440’s house burned down all in an effort to produce a photo for the Red challenge.

Now I know where she gets this dedication from!  Mike sent me his photo of a hummer that he has been obssessing over for some time now.  Of course, he is still not quite satisfied as the flash has turned day to night (thus, the black background) and he is wanting to catch the hummer hovering and freeze the wing action with a fast shutter speed, so we have not seen the last of his efforts, I am sure.

And this is what he said… “I know that the hummers change colors dramatically depending on the  angle of the light. I could see changes when a hummer would bow forward to drink.  I guessed at where to put my slave flash and think I got lucky.  My slave flash was offset about a foot to the left of me and the  bird.  It was 20″ higher than the bird which put it only 30” away from  the bird.  I was 6′ away, shooting at 300mm and cowering behind a blind made of camouflage material stretched between two posts.

I really could use an infrared controlled flash trigger.  I used cardboard  and construction paper to make a “blinder” for my on-camera flash so that it would illuminate my slave trigger but not light up the subject.   One of the problems I discovered a few days ago was that there is a delay between the camera flash and slave flash that results in a second  “ghost” image of the hummingbird if it’s moving… and it’s usually  moving!   I had the camera flash set to 1/64th power, but even a  tremendously underexposed ghost image still resulted in the ‘ghost bird’.   Also, I now only have one flash reflection in the hummer’s eye instead of two.  One white dot looks better than two.  If I wasn’t using  flash, I could use a shutter speed much faster than 1/200th and based  on your images and others I’ve seen,  get a sharp image.  But I am trying to freeze the wings on a hovering hummer, so am trying this 1/10,0000th  of a second flash thing.  It sure has a way of turning day into night.  I  took this at f22 with an equivalent  ISO of 100.  My shutter speed was  1/200th sec and everything in the frame was in the shade.”

Thank you Mike for sending this my way with your detailed explanation of getting the shot.  We have discussed the possibility of using a potted plant with perhaps some nectar filling a couple flowers in hopes of luring the hummer to a plant and working with the background.  This is a work in progress but what I am seeing is so very beautiful and I wanted to share this with all the crazy women.  Great job Mike and thanks for giving me permission to post this image!  What a magnificent little bird!  Excellent capture!

(Photo by Mike)

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8 thoughts on “Hummers are so elusive!

    • Thanks Merrie,

      I’m still trying to capture a hummingbird hovering away from the feeder, but I don’t think our visitors are comfortable here yet. They are still easily spooked so I’m getting very few chances to shoot them. I’m afraid it’s going to take a lot of attempts to get the image I’m after. Maybe I’ll have better luck next year.

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