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Evening Hummingbird Shoot (5 Light)

Stage Setup

When I got home tonight at 6:30 I decided to setup the Hummingbird stage (Feeder, Flower & Lights) and take advantage of the nice weather.  I noticed that my adult male Hummingbird was no longer dominant!  There was a young male who seemed to have taken over and kept the adult away from the feeders (darn, there might not be any more adult shots!). This was really upsetting, but what can you do?  I only had an hour until there was not enough light to shoot with so I got busy.  I brought out the three light stands, backdrop, and the 5 flash units.  It took about a half hour to set everything up only to discover that I had no flowers in my garden to put on the feeder!  I walked down a few houses with scissors and took care of that little problem! The picture to the right is a shot of my basic stage set.  there is a hole in the center for the birds to access about 8 inches wide and 6 high.  The lights were adjusted by moving them closer or further away (leaving the manual power setting of 1/16 power the same on all of them).  I used 4 lights on the birds and 1 on the backdrop. If you have even 3 lights you can still get some good shots, but the more you have the better your images will be and the better you will become in this photographic venue.

Tonight I decided to shoot with a 400mm prime lens set back about 10 feet from the stage with NO extension tubes so that I might get the sharpest images. (tomorrow I am going to shoot all day long  and will use the Canon 70-200 L/IS,  f/4 lens to show you the difference!

Young Ruby Throated Humming Bird In Flight

After setup and light adjustment was complete (manual exposure mode, f/29, 1/200s, ISO 100 & -5ev ambient exposure) I sat back with my wireless shutter release and waited for the action to start.  It was slow going because the new king hummingbird was unsure of himself but still managed to keep the others away.  Finally he started exploring and gave me the opportunity for some good shots. It is too bad that he is not as good looking as the adult, but it is what it is!

He gave me a lot of good poses and was very acrobatic. All in all it was a very good show. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

In Post Processing in Photoshop CS5 with NIK software’s Viveza,  I discovered a MAJOR PROBLEM!  When you shoot at such a small aperture, any dust that is on the image sensor will show up as dark spots on the image! I discovered tonight that I had HUNDREDS of them on my pictures and it took about 10 min to clean each image before I could even really start processing them!  Now, this is after I cleaned the camera tonight when I got home, in fact I only made it worse than it was before!  So, because of this I only managed to get 2 images totally done and ready to archive and print!  Major pain! Now I am going to have to clean the camera image sensor before I go to bed and there will be no guarantee that it is clean until I shoot tomorrow again! This only goes to prove how hard we work for our images….

Streach In There! Young Ruby Throated Hummingbird Feeding!

OK, here is a VIDEO showing you what it looks like all together and operational!

I promise, I will get technical again tomorrow night!

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