PhotographyScienceScience & Nature

Catch Me If You Can: Hummingbirds

This is the most common shot I got: a lone hummingbird feeder with no hummingbirds. I decided I’d move farther down the porch and possibly have better luck.

While at the in-laws this weekend, I saw numerous hummingbirds fly to the feeder on the front porch. I happened to have my camera, so I went outside to snap a couple of photos.

Unfortunately, every time I opened the door, the hummingbirds vanished. I’d sit on the porch, looking at the feeder through my camera, and eventually give up.

Usually when I threw in the towel, I’d hear a buzzing sound and look at the feeder. There they were, feeding! I’d put the camera to my face and they’d be gone.

I wasn’t the most prepared for this little photo session, but I will be next time. I’m going to bring my zoom lens to the in-laws place and sit in the back of their truck, waiting for those cute, miniature birds.

Hopefully, I  capture the hummingbirds up-close and more detailed during the next round of photos.

At wing-speeds up to 30 beats per second, they are an ambitious subject to photograph.
Meeting at the feeder for a bit of this and that.
And they go their separate ways.

Gigi Chickee

All photos are taken by me, Gigi Chickee, unless otherwise noted. Photography Correspondent here at Mad Art Lab. Wife to my gorgeous husband, Rob. Mother to my four girls. Proud Secular Homeschooler. Photographer when the occasion arises. Seamstress in training. Skeptic always. Follow me and my musings on Twitter: @gigichickee

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  1. A tip for photographing birds from NatGeo: approach with a companion; when the bird freaks, then your companion leaves and then the bird thinks you’re gone.
    Also, you did a great job, but to freeze hummingbird wings, you can use a flash in low power (since it peaks with less energy and thus flash duration can be a lot shorter).
    Finally, a personal tip: we have had hummingbirds breeding in our yard. We approach the nest with all caution when the mother is away and the little ones get somewhat used to humans. Later, as adults, they are much easier to photograph.

  2. Hummers are smart and adaptive. Sit near the feeder and read or listen to music till they start to get used to you, occasionally click your camera or pop the flash. Once they decide you are just part of the scenery they will start to ignore you and can even be convinced to perch on your hand and drink out of it.
    Also the red hummer food liquid isn’t needed, a solution of 4:1 water and plain sugar will do just fine (and is cheaper).

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