My Nikon D5 has an auto focus setting called 3-D tracking which until today, I hadn’t used. My Nikon D800 and Df both have the setting as well but for some reason it just wasn’t on my radar. A friend from my camera club sent me a video that tested the D5’s auto focus abilities and, using 3-D tracking, the photographers in the video captured some amazing motocross images. They suggested that 3-D was also a good auto focus setting for bird photography so I thought I’d give it a try. I hand held the D5 with the 300mm lens and sat on my patio with a glass of wine (well, it was after 5PM after all) while I listened to the male hummingbird announcing his presence and at the same time his displeasure at my presence near him. He finally realized I wasn’t leaving so he flew to the feeder. A tremendous help is that I finally covered two of the four openings on each of the three feeders so that the hummers would always be in a good position for me to photograph them while they drink. I have to give credit for this suggestion to my photography buddy Richard who, when he visited in June, commented that I still hadn’t covered the openings. Well, Richard, now I have, and I must admit, it’s a great suggestion.
I still need to do more test shots with 3-D tracking but so far, I like it. Here are two of the shots I got while the hummer was feeding. There is ghosting in the wings because I used flash at 1/16 power and the shutter speed was only 1/80 on one shot and 1/100 on the other one. In order to freeze a hummingbird’s wings the shutter speed needs to be much faster. I’ll have to work this but I’m pretty pleased with these shots.