Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird at a Bee Balm

Maybe I have a few days to make a photo like this, maybe not. With flowers you never can predict one hundred percent how long they last. A heavy thunderstorm can bring a quick end to their beauty. The Bee Balm is blooming right now in our front yard and it seems we have more flowers than ever before. Bee Balm is a favorite of the hummingbirds and making a good click while they hover around the flower or drink nectar from its blossom is always a great challenge but also a lot of fun. It takes some patience to be successful. This evening I had periods of time when no bird showed up for 10-15 minutes, instead they preferred one of the hummingbird feeders hanging from the roof of the porch. This is understandable because the resources of each flower are obviously limited. I tried a little trick I learned from other wildlife photographers and sprayed some hummingbird food into the blossom, but I don’t think that has increased the frequency of their visits to a particular blossom. It is the same mixture (4 parts water + 1 part sugar) that we use for our feeders.

This evening I experimented a lot with different settings for exposure and flash compensation and even with some higher ISO settings than I usually apply. Yes, it is a little easier to freeze the action of a hummingbird with a higher ISO setting (today up to 1250) and therefor much faster shutter speed, but I still like the rendering of details much better if the ISO value stays low (100-400).

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, MAGMOD MagBeam flash extender,  @ 600 mm, 1/400 s, f/6.3, ISO 1250,