Day 134—Hummers Again—Finally!

I’ve had my Nikon D800 for two weeks and until this morning, I have not managed to capture a single shot of a wild bird that I would consider posting on my blog. Part of the problem is getting acquainted with how the new camera works and adjusting to its increased weight. Part of the problem has been my busy schedule during the last couple of weeks that kept me from going in search of bird photos. And, part of the problem has been that my hummingbirds have been elusive—that is until this morning. When I opened the blinds at about 6:30 AM, there were two bathing in the fountain, something I’d not seen before. That was enough for me. I took my coffee and my camera and sat next to the fountain. There were so many (four or five), I think they must have fledged and left the nest. A couple of what appeared to me to be baby birds showed interest in the fountain but they were chased away by an adult. All the birds weren’t from the same family, however. One smaller hummer turned out to be a black chinned hummingbird, something I verified in my Sibley Guide to Birds after I downloaded the shots. So, there is a family of Anna’s hummingbirds (I think two adults and two babies) and at least one Black chinned hummingbird.

At 6:30 AM, the light at the fountain was not conducive to a low ISO so I bumped it up. The two shots I’m using today were taken at an ISO of 2000. I used an ISO of 5000 for some of the shots, but I’m still not comfortable using that high an ISO. Fortunately, with this camera, the noise it produces is not nearly as significant as the noise that high a setting would produce on my D90. I am posting these shots today because I think they are interesting but they are not well focused. I feel as if I’ve lost some of my ability to take good photos.

So, regarding this regression in my photographs, I will say that Karen Russell, the instructor for the on-line class I’m taking, has told us that our photos will get worse before they get better. However, she assures us that they will get better. I am certainly finding that my photos are getting worse. I am waiting for the up swing. This morning, I couldn’t get any of the hummers I saw in focus. I finally decided it was because I was not on continuous focus but rather single servo focus. It was only after I changed that setting that I was able to get these shots.

Both shots are cropped and the first required a levels adjustment. Both had the same exposure settings: Focal Length 300mm, ISO 2000, f.5.6, 1/125. I used manual settings and although I considered using auto ISO, I tried to keep a close eye on the meter to make sure my shots were exposed properly, but I missed on both of these: the first was underexposed, the second, overexposed. I guess it’s back to Aperture Priority for me, at least for a while.

Female Anna’s Hummingbird

Male Black Chinned Hummingbird