I was getting pretty good shots. So now experiment. It’s about pushing the limits and seeing what you can do. This image was shot at 1/500. I even went to 1/2000. The image at this point (1/2000) crossed over with unacceptable noise. But I think that 1/500 or 1/1000 is about right. The nicest images are those with the tail feathers spread and the wings in hover position. And it’s better when there is some action going on. Cropping closer, I could delete the feeder and make this more abstract. The noise would probably not be acceptable.
Here’s an exercise. Try to shoot birds in flight. I have many shots now of birds perched on the feeder. Flight is another subject. Advice: shoot at high shutter speed, use a tripod, pre focus, and have lots of patience. I used a tripod, which I mostly eschew. It does limit mobility and composition. But holding a telephoto lens is a chore. I used the bird feeder and focused on one of the lower screws as my pre focus point. I set the camera focus on manual so I could fine tune. I used shutter speeds of 1/250, 1/1000, and then 1/2000. The action is caught pretty well at 1/2000 but there is the noise/ISO to contend with. My ISO ran to 1000 and then 1600. The images were sharp. At 1/250, the wing motion was harder to stop. The images are obtained primarily by patience. In 1000 images, I got about 50 take home shots. You would never do that with film, but hey, it’s digital. You cannot just set off the motor drive. It will not reliably capture good images. Most images have no movement because the timing was off. Or the image will capture the wings in a strange position. Hence there is a low rate of success. The tripod is crucial. I could pre focus and then wait. While waiting I made up this post.
For a really great set of photos see 11/14 post hummingbirds by cousin David. It’s posted again below.
Technical: Panasonic DMC 257, 1/60 sec, f6.3, ISO 80, focal length 4.1, no flash, patterned meter
Water droplets on leaves: Within a day, David went back to experiment. His shot of the leaf and water droplets is very good. The lighting and background add a lot of interest. I thought that he had used a flash but the metadata indicates that he did not. The droplets add a dynamic element. The large droplet at the left counterbalances the light on the right. I like this photo a lot.