Monday, April 28, 2014

Dueling Hummingbirds in Dogwood Tree

Dueling hummingbirds in our dogwood tree near our feeders. This is my toughest hummingbird picture to date. Hummers are a tough subject if you go for more than the standard sit on a limb picture. The tough part here is getting them in the same plane of focus. Hummers will tend to spiral around one another. 

Like many of my photos, this took 5 hours of observation, sitting, hundreds of misses, and 1/2000th of a second. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out the key to timing these photos. I have learned that the flaring of the tail feathers signals a likely takeoff in the next fraction of a second. Once I focused on that, I got many more good in flight photos. 

The male bird in this picture is actually preparing to take off in the next instant. The image makes him look like he is falling off the limb. I could not begin to time this instant. The key is to anticipate these moves by focusing on the tail flaring. Understand too that if you don't shoot at the instant of the flare behavior, you will never get the shot. It takes at least about a second to fire the shutter after you have seen the signal. You will miss a lot of shots, but you will get some of these too if you are patient. 

Dueling Hummingbirds in Dogwood Tree

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