I love hummingbirds and strive to take the best photographs of them possible. To me there are two kinds of birds....hummingbirds and other birds. Hummingbirds are so unique, fierce and magical and I hope that my pictures allow everyone to get a close-up view of how spectacular they really are.
I have faithfully fed hummingbirds for the past two decades and have been fortunate enough to live where I can attract over fifty birds at one time. I started photographing the hummingbirds visited the feeders on my balcony at a time when I was ill and couldn't trek out to the woods or ocean. The learning curve was steep to be able to “freeze” their wings. I began by photographing them in mid-air. But as time passed I would buy backdrops and flowers and found a way to capture the hummingbirds as they visited each bloom in the course of their day. Photographing the birds with the flower creates a special synergy.
A lot of extra equipment is required to get the shots I capture. A backdrop is always a must. I have at least four remote flashes and another flash on my camera. The flash equipment is programmable as to the length of the flash. Controlling the light is the only way to “stop” the hummingbird wings in mid-air. I also have to be able to get really close to them, which requires familiarity and trust. It also helps to put sugar water in the flowers to attract the birds and get them to “pose” longer.
After the photographs are taken, I bring them into Photoshop for cropping, clarity and sharpening. Most photographs do not require much work, but there are some that require quite a bit of time. I find creating and improving photographs in Photoshop is an art in itself. My photographs are always as they were shot...I don't add backdrops after the fact and usually the only changes are ones to remove distractions from the photograph.
I hope you enjoy your visit to HummingbirdHangout to witness the beauty of these flying jewels.