Jane Pittenger  

Hummer About to Take Off  by Jane Pittenger

November 2021 - Hummer About to Take Off

About the Image(s)

Sony A1
f 5.6
ISO 5000.
I had been watching his fuscia neck shine as the he turned his head in the light and loved the color contrasting with the bright yellow butternut trees in the background. I wanted the background to blur so I used the widest aperture my lens has and I wanted just the tiniest bit of motion blur on the wings in case he flew so I chose a shutter speed that I hoped would capture that. The ISO was what was required to make the exposure right. I used manual exposure settings. I was looking for a perspective that gave him a sense of place (the branch) and placed the butternut tree behind him. I tweaked the exposures a bit in post so that he was clearly the center of the show. I think I got what I was hoping for with this shot,

3 comments posted

Damon Williams   Damon Williams
Great Capture Jane, of what I guess is a male Anna's hummingbird. I like the framing, which puts the subject off center and gives him living space in the direction he's looking. Exposure looks good to me. The body and head are quite sharp and you even have catchlights in the eyes. That shocking crimson is a real winner (too bad there's not more of it) and it complements that vibrant green of the background. Speaking of background, I really like the creamy, non-distracting background, which for me, is half the battle.

It's a good thing you were looking for motion in the wings, since it's a REAL challenge actually freezing it. I have several similar photos and even at 1/4000 or 1/5000 I couldn't really freeze wing motion (unless you catch it at the point in the sweep at which it's reversing, which is just blind luck). The way the pros who really freeze these things in space do it is to use several depowered speed lights, which at low power settings have a T1 time of above 1/15000 or higher). Recently I've been trying to shoot songbirds arriving at or departing from a perch, and even using a 400w/s strobe depowered to about 1/4, I got blurry wings (but razor sharp heads and bodies). This tells me that I need a second strobe, and to go to 1/8 or lower. And, this is just me, but I feel like the twig kind of merges with the feet, though the bird appears to be airborne on closer inspection.

You could make an entire career out of shooting these guys. They're fascinating animals and a challenging subject.   Posted: 11/03/2021 11:52:50

John Meiers   John Meiers
very nice photo. Put it on canvas or in a frame hang it where all will see. Worthy of submitting to any bird photo competitions you might belong to.   Posted: 11/06/2021 20:13:55

Dianne Arrigoni   Dianne Arrigoni
Beautiful capture Jane! I wouldn't change a thing as I would be so excited if I would come up with a bird capture so beautiful! Well done:-)   Posted: 11/26/2021 19:41:47


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