Hummingbird action at the recent High-speed Flash Photo Workshop captivated and challenged the participant photographers during the morning photography workshop. -Bert Garcia
Filled with early morning German strudel warm from the bakery, seven photographers met in Fredericksburg, Texas, eager to learn how to photograph hummingbirds with high-speed electronic flash.
After a fifteen-minute drive west of town, the group gathered at a private ranch that has a lot of hummingbird action spread among many established nectar feeders and native vegetation.
Approaching the feeder. -Bert Garcia
Upon arrival, the group was instructed on details of the setup and reviewed camera settings previously provided in a written brief. The group then set about to place flashes, triggers and backgrounds for three photographic positions. All feeders were removed except one at each photographic set-up. Even as the setups were refined the birds began working the nectar feeders.
Typical hummer photographic set in the shade. A nectar feeder, two flashes mounted on stands are set at fractional power for extremely fast flash duration for the bird, and one for the background. A printed background provides exposure control.
All the holes of the feeders were taped over except one. This process provides a predictable path for the birds’ approach.
Each photographer had a shooting station complete with a nectar feeder, two flashes for the bird, a large printed background and a flash to illuminate the background. The tripod-mounted camera was equipped with a Pocket Wizard radio trigger to activate each flash in synchronization.
Participants with tripod mounted cameras with Pocket Wizard radio triggers. The tripods are not for stabilization, but for composition.
The hummers present a wide variety of aerial maneuvers for the camera. -Michael Martin
Throughout the morning shoot, the images were evaluated in-camera and the settings and positioning were tweaked for optimum results. All participants were excited over the images they capered as they reviewed the shoot on the camera displays. Many of those images are found here:
Hummers continuously fight for feeder position. Today was no exception. Great pose and Black and White conversion. -Don Simpson
Female Black-chin hummer breaking in mid-flight. This image illuminated with flash at 1/25,000 second stops all noticeable wing movement. Captured at the optimum moment the image shows great pose and feather detail. – Michael Martin
Male Black-chinned Hummingbird. Black-chins are the most common hummer in the Texas Hill Country. -Cathey Roberts
Two samples of typical poses as the birds approach the feeder. Wings and tail spread provides aerodynamic braking. High-speed flash can capture details unseen by the unaided eye. -Don Simpson (above and below).
Lots of action was captured near the feeders as the little jewels fed. -Vicky Eastes (above and below)
Every participant was able to photograph the hummers in a wide variety of aerobatic positions as they fought for the best feeder position. -Gary Eastes (three below)
Copyright © 2020 Brian Loflin.
All rights reserved. Additional rights belong to the image makers.