Richard Matheny  

Ruby-throated Humming Bird by Richard Matheny

August 2019 - Ruby-throated Humming Bird

August 2019 - Richard Matheny


About the Image(s)

This most likely cheating in the world of wildlife photography. I have several bird feeders set up in my backyard, including 2 standard cheap Hummingbird feeders. It’s just what old people do. I can set in the doorway and play with my avian friends while enjoying the air conditioning on these hot South Carolina days. Setting there with a cold drink and my camera on a tripod taking photos of birds is wonderful. My neighbor has helped by providing really nice colored shrubs and flowers for the backgrounds in my images. The shooting part. I am still using the Nikon D500 and the Nikon 200-500 mm lens. Shot this image at 1/2000 sec at f5.6 and an ISO of 1600 and was at 400mm with the lens. I really like this lens but it seems to do better if I keep it off the edges of the full focal length. I did try some higher ISO to be able to increase the shutter speed and freeze the action a little better but the noise was more that I wanted to work with. As you can see I did crop a lot and also used all the standard slider adjustments in Lightroom, highlights, shadows, etc. Of course also done some sharpening on the bird and added some softness to everything else. I also took as much noise out as I could with Nik Define.

6 comments posted

Michael Weatherford   Michael Weatherford
Nailed it! It is so difficult to get the tack-sharp focus on the eye, good wing position and the light just right on that glorious iridescent red throat - all at the same time. And that bokeh, oh my! Great job. Wouldn't change a thing.   Posted: 08/05/2019 14:48:51

Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Have you considered submitting this to "Birds and Blooms"?
Seriously, this is a wonderful image. I guess partial thanks should go to your neighbor for leaving you that perfect background. The multi colors of the background nicely compliment the multiple colors of the bird making for a quite pleasing composition. You have also placed the bird properly in the image on one of the fixation points. Technically the gear and settings worked well. You end up with a tack sharp image and your noise reduction technique mostly cleaned up the background. Personally, I prefer the wings to be sharp but many excellent images present the wings as you did to show the speed of the wing beat---it is a personal preference. The fact that you have such a sharp eye and a wonderful head angle pretty much balance off the wing issue. In the end, I feel you have an image with a true wow factor. Best of all, you took it while seated in a chair with a cold drink. Beats what I do to get a shot.

The only issue is the extreme crop, but you handled it quite well.   Posted: 08/05/2019 19:17:22

Jan Handman   Jan Handman
(Group 34)
This is an amazing image. I so admire the sharpness of the eye and body. I have trouble getting a snail tack sharp, let alone a hummingbird. Beautifully captured!   Posted: 08/11/2019 17:42:51

Cheryl Pauley   Cheryl Pauley
Richard, This little hummingbird looks sharp from its beak to its tail feathers! What a great shot! I really like to have their feet in focus, perhaps because they are so delicate. The small highlights on the feet in your image draw attention to the details there. It would be wonderful to have this photo published in Birds and Blooms! I hope you will give it a shot!

  Posted: 08/13/2019 22:24:23

Todd Grivetti   Todd Grivetti
Richard, Spectacular capture sir! There is a lot of detail. Colors are bright and the capture of flight all make this a great image. I definitely like the cropped version. There is a little fuzziness to the back of the head and neck. The catch light in the eye is an added touch.

With you high ISO, it does add a bit more noise to the subject and background. I wonder if you were to smooth this out a smidge and add some sharpening the background would be a bit smoother and then add some texture to the hummingbird. They are truly ellusive and hard to shoot. Amazing capture!   Posted: 08/15/2019 22:45:59

Madhusudhan Srinivasan   Madhusudhan Srinivasan
Stunning image Richard! I loved your steady hands to freeze this tiny beauty. Despite heavy cropping, you have achieved a great sharp image. D500 @ISO1600 as I understand, is a breeze for the body. Have heard, it can handle higher ISOs comfortably. I see that coming from this image. Brilliant!   Posted: 08/22/2019 04:33:07


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