Juvenile male Ruby-throated Hummingbird, near Durango, Iowa, 1/125s, f/6.3, ISO400

One of the goals I wanted to accomplish this year was to step up a notch with my hummingbird photography. The time is just right, we have probably at least a dozen birds buzzing around the house and the new generation is as aggressive as the old “bullies” in their pursue to “own” one of the feeders we provide.

I mentioned in my last post already that I started using a new light modifier, a small soft box that attaches to the speed light. It still maintains the same purpose, just to bring out the colors in the bird’s feathers. The ambient light is still the main light source for the pictures. But it takes more than a new piece of gear to make better images. First I analyzed photos made during the last few years and realized that I had very few that caught the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds during a special gesture. To make it clear, there is nothing a hummingbird does slowly and even preening is done in short intervals that last maybe a second.

1/100s, f/6.3, ISO400

This juvenile male was my main subject today. He often returned to the same branch above one of our feeders and allowed me really to work with him between the “high-speed chases” that went on all afternoon and evening. Many clicks were made, but after the sun disappeared behind the trees on our ridge, there was a brief moment when a shaft of warm light hit the hummer just perfect, and this became my favorite shot of the day.

Nikon D750, Sigma 150-600mm / f5-6.3 DG OS HSM S, Induro GIT 404XL tripod, Induro GHB2 gimbal head, Nikon SB 800 speed light, Impact Quikbox Micro Softbox