Hummingbirds in the Garden

After weeks of rain we finally woke to clear skies and sunshine and I headed out back to catch the sunrise in the garden.

While thus loitering in my bathrobe a male Anna’s Hummingbird showed up ready for breakfast quite unafraid. Excited, I snapped his picture using the Automatic Exposure mode on my fancy (to me) camera.

Now it so happens I’m taking a photography class and should be practicing the Manual Exposure mode. And it also happens that the instructor recently showed us pictures he’d taken of hummingbirds, along with the manual settings he’d used.Β  I knew the hummers would be there a while so I ran inside to refer to my notes – there’s no time like the present to practice.

A whiz. A blur. A flash of color. Swoop. Hover. Drink. Soar. Return.

It was satisfying.

Not that I won’t use automatic mode again. Learning can be slow and it’s always easier to stay with what’s fast and familiar. But I do want to understand how it works and what my choices are, and when I might want to do something differently; so that setting aperture, shutter speed and ISO become second nature.Β  The class is helping with that.

In the meantime what could be better than practicing on hummingbirds in your garden?

~ Susanne

20 Comments on “Hummingbirds in the Garden

  1. So the right settings do deliver a better photo. πŸ™‚ You are learning well.
    I am jealous of your hummingbirds. I have never seen one, except on TV.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Thanks so much Pete. I’ve got a long way to go. At least I am learning how to experiment with settings so they become more and more natural to use. And I do love those beautiful hummingbirds and am so happy they visit our feeders everyday! πŸ™‚

      • I mainly use Aperture Priority. A wide aperture setting to blur the background, focus on the bird’s head, and let the camera adjust the shutter speed. πŸ™‚

      • Thanks Pete! I appreciate the tips. I will try out aperture mode. Currently, the class requires that we use manual mode for learning purposes. My hummingbird encounter was rather spontaneous and though I won’t use the pictures for the class, I thought I’d try to reinforce the manual mode habit. It’s helping me to understand how the big 3 settings interrelate, though it’s a slow go!

  2. I love the photos with the blurry wings, it really gives an idea about how blooming fast the little dudes are moving! These pictures are fantastic! I hope you show them to your teacher!!

    • Thanks so much! Our assignment this week was rather specific (precise f stops from 2.8 to f 16!) I may have to go take some more for the assignment! But I’m pleased with them anyway! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much! I was having trouble understanding the language of photography and how to use the features on my new cameras. It’s a short continuing education class at the community college with a very knowledgeable instructor. So far it’s helping I think. πŸ™‚

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