Like Trying to Photograph Lightning: Taking Pictures of Hummingbirds

I had an opportunity to take photos of feeding hummingbirds this summer when we stopped over for the night in Trail, BC. It was the single hardest photo subject I’ve ever had – hummingbirds are so small, and move so fast, it was extremely difficult to get a focus lock and take a photo. Most of the time the bird would leave the frame before my camera could get a lock. I must have shot 60 frames just to get these four. I had to learn to hear their incoming buzz – they sound like small helicopters – and guess/hope where they’d be. I didn’t have a tripod or a shutter release so I couldn’t set up a “proper” shoot, but it was still fun trying to capture just the right moment. And if there’s one argument for 50 megapixel cameras, it’s this: being forced to crop so much leaves few pixels left. The source photos after processing are only 3.5 to 3.9 megapixels in size, so no giant wall prints for these photos. 😜

  • fyiguy

    Pro Tip: for fast moving objects or if you have no time to setup your shot – Just shoot a video and then (if on your phone) take a screen shot of the paused video or on your computer use the export frame to an image in Premiere or iMovie. 🙂 Note: on the West Coast in the US Hummingbirds will feed in pairs(sometimes more) in the East the fly solo…

  • Thanks Steve, good tip! I kind of suck at filming video with my DSLR so I don’t think of it as my first tool. 😆