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Author Topic: Hummingbird photography  (Read 1677 times)
wolfnowl
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« on: June 09, 2005, 10:28:59 AM »
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Sounds like a longer lens would come in handy; you didn't mention what you use.  W/o seeing any images of yours it's hard to tell, but are the wings out of focus because of depth of field, or simply because humminbird wings beat at up to 4800 beats per minute? (80 times/ second).  From my limited experience with shooting hummingbirds, high-speed flash is necessary for that capture.

For a little bit of hummingbird trivia, their heartbeat can be up to 1200 beats per minute when active, but lower than 20 at night to conserve energy.  Otherwise they could starve to death overnight.  But that doesn't have anything to do with photography.

Mike.
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If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
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Richard Dawson
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« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2005, 03:30:05 PM »
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Wayne,

John and Barbara Gerlach have an article in the Spring 2004 issue of Nature Photography that covers many issues relative to photographing hummingbirds. John has also written a guide, "The Art of Photographing Hummingbirds" which you might find helpful.

You may want to check the following for more information:

http://www.gerlachnaturephoto.com/

and,

http://www.naturephotographermag.com/

I haven't seen the photography guide, but have read the article and think it is excellent. I have also been to two of the Gerlach's workshops and think they are first rate. Both John and Barbara are excellent, detail oriented teachers, so I expect the guide will be very complete.

Hope this helps,

Richard
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2005, 06:24:17 PM »
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Nature did it all by itself apparently......  :p
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Wayne Schmidt
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2005, 09:40:32 AM »
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Because they are so small, to get fine detail when taking pictures of hummingbirds I have to get within 2 feet so that the bird almost fills the frame of my Canon 20D. When shooting that close the depth of field is so short, even at F16, that most of the wings are out of focus.  Is there anyway to increase the depth of field other than moving back to a greater distance? (Moving back to 2 meters provides the needed depth of field, but then the image size is so small the even with 8 MP a lot of detail is lost.) Thank you.
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BJL
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2005, 10:42:24 AM »
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Ultimately, what you need to increase DOF at a given f-stop is a reduced image format (size of the bird's image on the sensor), either with cropping or by using a smaller format sensor. You have effectively noticed that with your comment about detail loss at 2 meters.
 This might require increased lens and sensor resolution, in the sense of "lines per millimeter".

Moving back and increasing focal length to get the same framing does not help; you get about the same DOF from that same f/16.

As you noticed, you do gain DOF at teh cost of resolution if you use the same focal length from further back and then crop : doubling distance and then cropping to the same framing, which involves enlarging twice as much, roughly doubles DOF.

Almost equivalent DOF gain and detail loss would be achieved by staying at your current distance, reducing focal length and again cropping.

So if the 20D does not allow enough cropping and enlarging, higher sensor (and lens) resolution is needed, requiring smaller pixels. The three current choices for distinctly smaller pixels are
a) any compact digicam (their famous abundant DOF can pay off here!),
 an Olympus E-300, or
c) a Nikon D2X.
The first two effectively build-in the cropping, as does the D2X if you use its 2x crop mode.

My bet is that for the sake of having the lens resolution keep up with the increased resolution needs it is better to use lenses designed for smaller formats rather than cropping from larger format lenses, and it is far less expensive too. On the other Nikon has some fine lenses if you can afford that option.

One trade-off is that the usable ISO is lower with the smaller pixels. Hummingbird photography probably requires flash in most situations!
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guitarman
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« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2005, 05:50:49 PM »
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Quote
Sounds like a longer lens would come in handy; you didn't mention what you use.  W/o seeing any images of yours it's hard to tell, but are the wings out of focus because of depth of field, or simply because humminbird wings beat at up to 4800 beats per minute? (80 times/ second).  From my limited experience with shooting hummingbirds, high-speed flash is necessary for that capture.

For a little bit of hummingbird trivia, their heartbeat can be up to 1200 beats per minute when active, but lower than 20 at night to conserve energy.  Otherwise they could starve to death overnight.  But that doesn't have anything to do with photography.

Mike.
80 times a second. How is that possible?
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