I’m still feeling great about my progress in Madera Canyon. By our second day here, I was already taking more successful photographs in a couple of hours than I did on the entire Madera Canyon workshop last year. And, I’m learning how to fine-tune my technique to get even better photographs.
Tuesday morning we spent a few hours on the Santa Rita Lodge patio and I took about the same number of good photographs as I did on Day One but after seeing yesterday’s successes and analyzing my failures, I was able to apply lessons learned and took three times as many successful in-flight photographs today than I took yesterday. I’m definitely more comfortable with the technique we’re using but one of the problems I’m still having is getting a small, distracting piece of feeder in a corner of the photograph. Until today, I have had to Photoshop out those distractions. While I have managed to photograph the hummers on rare occasions without any distractions from the feeders, most of my photographs have had a smidgeon of the feeder in one corner. Now my goal is to avoid getting them in the photograph altogether unless it is a part of the story I’m trying to tell.
This photograph of a male Broad-billed hummer is similar to those I posted yesterday, but unlike those photographs, this photograph never saw Photoshop. It remains exactly as I shot it. The trick: use Nikon’s Auto Area AF which uses closest subject priority to lock in focus. I learned from Moose is to prefocus on a place near the feeder where the birds are expected to fly in to feed but without the feeder showing. Be patient and poised to take the shot when the birds fly into the viewfinder. Auto Area AF grabs focus on the bird when it flies into the frame. The trick is to trigger the shutter release when the bird is in the right place in the frame. This is my best shot to date.