I gave up on photographing hummingbirds for a little while. My pictures were all looking the same, and I wasn't getting that bright iridescence in the feathers that I wanted.
Here is a cute one of a bird trying to get the nectar from the side of the feeder.
The other day, I thought: I should search on the internet for tips about photographing hummingbirds. It turns out you can find lots of articles about it. Some of the tips were surprising: like using flash (as many as 5 flashes at the same time) in the bright daylight to either freeze the wing motion or help bring out the colors.
There were other tips regarding props - like using a feeder, but closing off all but one of the holes so that you forced the birds to a known spot. Or strategically placing potted plants in the background to achieve a more natural looking environment.
And there were other tips like setting your camera to continuously focus while you have the shutter button depressed, or limiting your camera to focus just in the center of the field of view.
The thing that impressed me the most was the concept of the photographer setting up this deliberate environment, tweaking everything so it is just so ... but the photograph itself doesn't reveal any of that! I had mixed feelings about it - on the one hand it seemed very clever, and on the other it seemed like a dirty trick.
Anyway, I did try to play with my focus settings, and I did try to change things up a bit to better compose some of my pictures. Even if I didn't use a lot of the tips, at least I was out there trying again. The following pictures might not have the best exposure and focus, but I think better composure than some of my old ones.
In the following two pictures I've stepped outside and am shooting back toward the window.
In these next two I've stepped to the side so that the trees are in the background as the birds approach the feeder. It's harder this way because sometimes the birds don't come if you are out there, especially, I've noticed, if you are wearing a black shirt. White clothing doesn't seem to bother them as much.
The following pictures I took from indoors, but I waited for a better time of the day - in the late afternoon when the sun provided a better light for catching those colors in the feathers.
This is the type of shot I've been wanting all along - with those bright colors showing up on the throat and the feathers clearly in focus. Still not the amazing picture that I really want, but getting there. I think one thing I could do to improve things is to remove that hanging plant. The camera likes to focus on those chains.
There has been a lot of action at the feeder lately, even multiple birds trying to feed at the same time. I've seen as many as four birds swooping and diving all around. Sometimes I think there might be two different birds who think they "own" the feeder.
I've noticed some patterns in the behavior of multiple birds at the feeder. If two birds approach the feeder at the same time, there is a good chance both will settle down and drink. Also, if one bird is already at the feeder and a second one approaches, there is a good chance that both will drink together. BUT if a bird is "guarding" the feeder from the tree about 30 feet away, he doesn't let anyone drink, so the feeder sits empty.
I'll end with this funny one. It's almost a throw-away shot, but this is what two swooping birds look like, if you are fast enough.
Thanks for stopping by.