Friday, August 30, 2013

Photographing Hummingbirds

Getting a shot of a hummingbird takes patience, and plenty of it. Not only are they fast, but they don't hang around in one spot for very long. But you can be rewarded with a satisfying image if you wait long enough.

During a recent visit to my in-laws' house, I had a chance to take a shot at getting a hummingbird photo. My first thought was to set my camera on shutter priority at 1/640 to try an capture the fast movement. That didn't pan out as the 1/640 images were way too dark on an overcast day for the lens I was using (55-300mm f/4.5-5.6). I could have boosted the IS, but I had a space out and didn't even think about ISO settings and my auto ISO settings were off so the camera stayed at ISO 200.

Next thought was to use the flash to capture the fast moving hummingbirds. This proved what would be the right approach as I got the below photo of a hummingbird taking flight.

Hummingbird Taking Flight
Taking flight 1/200 @ f/5.6 ISO200 - flash used

I enjoyed my short little hummingbird photo shoot, and look forward to getting another shot. Next time I will remember my auto ISO setting (or boost it manually) if there is not enough light for faster shutter speeds.



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Photographing Lightning

I have always wanted to get a good shot of lightning, but we don't have many electrical storms in Western Washington. On a recent vacation to Eastern Washington/North Western Idaho I got a chance to try and get that shot one evening.

With a forecast for thunderstorms increasing as the weekend neared, my wife and I were excited at the chance to see a good storm - and we would not be disappointed at all! This storm was quite large, lengthy and for a good portion seemingly right outside our window/on top of us. After taking a couple of videos the battery in our camera was drained to the point where the shutter release was disabled and the spare battery was in the car. Well, after unplugging the white noise machine (for our one year old, who was asleep) in case something hit the hotel, our little one woke up and needed a diaper change something fierce - but like the spare battery, the wipes were in the car. Now I had a must need trip to the car and would retrieve the battery while I was there and get my change to attempt to take a photo of the storm.

So, camera on the tripod and remote shutter release cable at the ready, I thought I would try a 30 second exposure and try and time it right to get a bolt somewhere in that 30 seconds - after two exposures that was very apparent a waste of time and effort. Next thought, put the camera on bulb exposure @ f/11 and leave the shutter open till a bolt flashes by (again, trying to time it right). This strategy worked with a little luck and resulted in the below shot with just over a one second exposure.

Lightning Strike, Post Falls Idaho
Post Falls, Idaho Lightning Strike
I could have had more chances at some amazing shots, but as mentioned earlier our spare battery was in the car during the more intense part of the storm. Sometimes a little luck is just what you need for an amazing shot, sure lightning photos may be much easier if you have a lightning trigger, but for most of us we will have to rely on patience and the right timing to capture the lightning.



Monday, August 12, 2013

Honey Bees and Hibiscus

Something about photographing bees can be unnerving, granted honey bees pretty much leave you alone unless provoked - but anyone who has been stung as a child probably still has that slight unease lurking somewhere in the deep recesses of ones mind. Braving the wrath of the winged sweet makers can sure lead to some memorable photos. The two below are from my in-law's house while we were visiting to have a first birthday party for our son.

Honey Bee and Hibiscus
Collecting Pollen

Honey Bee Ready for Flight on a Hibiscus
Ready for Flight

Both of these were taken with a 55-300mm lens which puts a nice distance between the stinger and the photographer.



Saturday, August 3, 2013

Shooting the Daylight Moon

Shooting the moon in the daylight poses more challenges than it does at night when all we have to worry about is proper exposure on the moon itself. One evening as the sun was going down and the moon was already up, I set out to try and get some shots of the moon against a nice blue background.

Well the light blue background didn't come out to anything exciting as the moon was over exposed and lacked detail when the sky showed up on camera in the lighter blue. However, getting a good exposure on the moon rendered the sky a much darker hue. While not the look I was initially setting out for, this was my favorite of the few I took of the evening moon as the daylight faded.

Early Evening Moon
For exposure on this photo we have 1/125 second @ f/11, ISO 200. Might try again on another blue sky day and see if different results can be attained.