Updated: May 18, 2022
Have you ever had the opportunity to watch hummingbirds fly around and feed? They are incredibly beautiful and shockingly fast which makes them fun but very tricky to photograph.
Hummingbird resting on a branch
I started off by photographing some flowers around 4:30pm in Studio City, CA in this beautiful garden. I don't have a ton of experience photographing macro scenes so I chose some settings that made sense to me and stuck to them to avoid extra stuff to think about while working on getting good focus and compositions. My settings were ISO 100 / 1/400 / F/11 for the entire shoot.
Poppy / Plumbago / Kangaroo Paw
I found their sensitivity to my movement was pretty extreme. Anytime I would take a few steps, pan my lens left or right and really any movement at all they would scatter. It would take them about 2-3 minutes to return and begin feeding again. I found I was most successful holding my camera up to my eye or at least near my face and find a decent composition and wait for a bird to fly into frame. Every time I would move to pursue a shot I would scare the birds off for a few minutes. I found that patience really paid off in this situation. This also allowed me to watch them fly around more which was really cool to take in. I stood there for about 45 minutes total with minimal movements snapping photos when I could and enjoying myself the rest of the time.
Hummingbirds feeding and flying around
Hummingbirds Go Hard!
These birds are intense! One really interesting thing that I saw while photographing these hummingbirds was that they were constantly attacking one another while they were feeding. Most photo opportunities when like this: Bird enters the frame I set up > I snap a couple shots if I'm lucky > bird gets dive bombed by another hummingbird and leaves the frame > I hope one of the shots was in focus. If you really sit there and take it all in it's almost like fighter jets having a never ending dog fight in the sky.
Cool Unexpected Experience
I originally didn't intend on photographing the hummingbirds. I'm really happy and fortunate that I was able to stand there for a while watching those crazy guys buzz around and chase each other with incredible speed and a manurverabliay through the garden. It was an incredible experience and I look forward to the next time I can do it. If you're interesting in purchasing a print use the button below to visit my Wildlife print shop.