2013 Project 365

Project 365/179 – Hummers

Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. Hummingbirds open our eyes to the wonder of the world and inspire us to open our hearts to loved ones and friends. Like a hummingbird, we aspire to hover and to savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that life has to offer and to celebrate the joy of everyday. The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation.” 



This is the first chance that I’ve been able to capture hummingbirds in action. Hearing of their residence at Patuxent Research Center – North Tract yesterday, of course I had to go to stalk some hummers.

When I woke up this morning, it was dark and dreary. Wishing I had a sunny morning to capture these lovelies, I decided to go and see how the Canon Mark III would perform in the lower light conditions.

The settings chosen were: Aperture Priority, f/6.3, ISO ** get this ** 3200. Giving me shutter speeds of 1/4000 and 1/5000 of a second.

I was able to get quite close to the birds, but still had to keep a distance as the Canon 500mm needed about 10 feet in order to focus. There were at least four Ruby Throated Hummingbirds flitting in and out to dine on the feeders. Giving me ample opportunity to capture them. I spent about a half an hour and blew through 250 shots like nothing. I can see myself spending all day and capturing thousands of images.

Editing these in Lightroom 5, the first action was to crop the images, then noise reduction. Some Autotone, some not. One with the new radial filter. I think these came out pretty good for a first time out shooting hummers.

Next time I’ll make sure I have better lighting, or at least use some positive exposure compensation to brighten up their dark faces.

45 replies »

  1. These are some pretty spectacular shots. I’m not very tech savvy with camera logistics, is the noise reduction taking out the background so you can just see humming bird? The close-ups allowing for feather definition is awesome – wow. Were you excited when you started to see what you were able to produce?

    • Think of teeny tiny little dots that are called a pixel. These dots create the image. Sometimes when there isn’t enough light, the dots have to be bigger. So big fuzzy dots create the image. A smooth surface is desirable.
      I am super excited about this series and will be back there tomorrow. Hopefully with some more sunshine. 🙂

  2. Great captures! I have yet to capture a suitable photo of a hummer. I need to try harder. Maybe move the feeder too since it’s at the edge of the porch on the north side of the house and the light is pretty dark there. Will have to try turning the ISO WAY up! Thanks for the tip!

    • Oh yes…move the feeder to better light, nice background. These are up against the building, thus the great background. I bet you can get great pics of your hummers too. I look forward to seeing them.

      • Thanks for the tip! We don’t seem to have the numbers this year that we have had in the past. I’ve only seen one! Same thing with my mother and sister who live about an hour away from me. They must have a different migration route this year.

  3. I must say I prefer the magic of Papyrus to the technical details, although I do appreciate you sharing your extensive knowledge 🙂 on how to achieve the magic! Beautiful arrested motion!! Anyone who understands birds will appreciate what you have done!!! Thanks for sharing the magic!!!!

    • LOL ! I agree..the magic of the Papyrus is far more interesting. But thanks to the techie part, we can appreciate nature at its finest. The best part, hearing their wings humming when they fly by your head.

  4. “It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”
    ― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

    Lovely, Emily! You continue to make me grateful to live in a world of beauty…

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