2020—Madera Canyon

Madera Canyon, AZ is home to many species of hummingbird including the jewel-like Broad-billed Hummingbird. Our first day was a shakedown day to refamiliarize ourselves with the special rigs we use to photograph hummingbirds, including two flashes, and two soft-boxes attached to the tripod and and controlled remotely by the camera. It takes lots of concentration and the need for a plan to ensure success. Despite the fact that I frequently photograph hummingbirds in my backyard, the experience here in Madera Canyon is quite different. First, there are seemingly countless hummingbirds that are constantly coming and going. Not only are we dealing with the fast moving hummingbirds but the light is constantly changing and that requires frequent tweaks of exposure and flash intensity and making sure the background doesn’t detract from the subject. And the rig is more complex than what I use at home. By the end of about 6 hours of shooting on our first day, I had taken just a few hundred photographs. What a contrast to other bird photography trips I’ve been on where I take several thousand of photographs a day. This week will be a good workout for the improved autofocus system in the new Nikon D6. By the end of about 6 hours of shooting on our first day, I had taken just a few hundred photographs. What a contrast to other bird photography trips I’ve been on where I take several thousand of photographs a day. This week will be a good test for the improved autofocus system in the new Nikon D6. Using the Nikkor 500mm PF lens, I’m the bare minimum focusing distance away from the feeders so I have to be careful that I maintain that minimum distance for sharp focus. This is quite a fun challenge to undertake.