SAME BIRD, DIFFERENT LIGHTING


Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

About a week ago I already showed some images of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird here in the blog. It is the only hummingbird species that we have here in eastern Iowa. Those photos were made in the rain or at least with an overcast sky. I used the Nikon SB800 speed light for boosting the colors and for making these images of hummingbirds shine, despite a gray sky

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Yesterday morning we had a blue sky with only a few clouds, the air was clear, and there was a quality of natural light that I just liked to use for my bird photography. As a story teller about nature it is most of the time important to me to give my images a sense of place. Shooting in the rain with low light requires a longer exposure if the background needs to be an important part of the image. The flash is used only for the colors and the muted sun is still the main source of light for the photo. Yesterday the sun was out and the colors didn’t need any amplification, hence I didn't use fill flash. It also allows to shoot with much faster speed, mostly between 1/640s and 1/ 800s. In comparison, During the overcast last week my exposure was mostly below 1/250s, and sometimes going down to 1/100s. I used “sniper mode”, means one picture which each release of the shutter button. But even then, shooting with faster exposure time has the advantage of a higher keeper rate. As you can imagine, having a bird as your subject, that is capable of producing up to 50 wing beats per second, may not always lead to a tack sharp photo… ;-)