Monday, May 14, 2012

Rufous Hummingbird (Photo Of The Day May 14)

Hummingbirds are amazing creatures to watch, because of the way they move through the air in an almost helicopter fashion. Capturing photos of them on the other hand can be tricky, because they move very quickly. This Rufous Hummingbird was no exception to that, as it quickly flew to and from the feeder near the entrance of the George C Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. I would have liked to capture some shots of the bird away from the feeder, but the 300mm F4 I use focuses too slow with the 1.4x teleconverter attached, and it just hunted for focus when I tried.

A few quick bird photography tips. The first is to keep an eye on the background when shooting birds in mixed lighting. I had to spot meter the hummingbird in todays image, as the scene had a dark background, mostly trees in the shade. Meanwhile the foreground was extremely bright from the morning sun (taken around 9AM). The dark background lead my camera extremely overexposure the frames that were not spot metered. My usual shooting technique with birds is to use centred weighted metering, auto ISO (set to ISO200-6400 on my D700), a shutter speed of 1/640s or more and manual shooting mode, so that I can select both the aperture and the shutter speed. If I run into any problems I simply turn off auto ISO and select the value manually.