Monday, October 17, 2011

Catching Hummingbirds......or not.

click on image to enlarge

      "How do you shoot hummingbirds?" That's the question I get all the time. Apparently, lots of folks have a very difficult time trying to capture hummingbirds in flight. So I thought I would take a few minutes to share some of my strategies for making hummingbirds freeze in the air.
      Let me just try to explain the photo above. To begin with, hummingbirds are not attracted to lilies, but they are attracted to the feeder that is hanging above the lilies, but out of the frame. Secondly, auto-focus does not work well when it comes to tracking hummingbirds. They are just too fast for most auto-focus systems. The solution is to carefully place your feeder and your flower so that you can prefocus on the stamen of the flower. By setting your shutter speed to 1/2000 th of a sec. and raising your cameras' ISO to accommodate that shutter speed, your ready to begin.
    Most modern DSLR's provide a burst shooting rate of at least 5 frames per second. Set the camera up to utilize this fast shooting rate and practice firing a few quick bursts. Check the focus and the depth of field you're achieving. I generally like to shoot at f.8, which gives me enough depth of field to capture the action. Using a 300 mm. lens, I can almost always get the kind of shot I am after. Occasionally, I find I need a bit longer lens, which may cause me to pull out a 400mm. Your lens choice is an important factor in the results you are going to achieve. Don't waste your money on cheap glass. The real quality of a photo comes from the lenses, not the camera.
     Good luck with your shots. Let me know how it works for you.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Using Fall Color in Your Photographs

Click on Image to enlarge


     Fall is the season we all wait for after suffering through the heat of summer. Fall brings the cool air and the colors of the season that can present wonderful photographic opportunities. With the cool air comes the migration of countless species of birds to the mountains and woodlands of eastern Tennessee. It's the time of year when all of us want to play hooky from our jobs and our lives to go out and enjoy the natural world. For me, as a photographer, it's the time of year when the air gets clearer and the photo ops abound. It's the time of year that beckons me to pursue the hunt of birds and backgrounds.
     The warm hues of fall color can make an otherwise mediocre shot more interesting to the eye. Fall weeds become beautiful gardens, and leaves become nature's decorative backdrops. It seems like everywhere you look there is some kind of photo just waiting its' turn to be taken. Here in the Smokies, we have the joy of seeing so much color and so much wildlife,  all combining to create unlimited photographic opportunities. With the smallest effort, one can capture scenes worthy of print and display. Regardless of where you make your home, Fall is the season to get out and explore. It's the season to renew your love of the outdoors and to bring home images to share with friends and family. So grab your camera, play hooky for a day, and remind yourself why we're on this planet. Life is for the living.......and the joy of life comes from the depth of living we allow ourselves to experience. Capture some images and hang them on the wall to remind you of this everyday. You'll  smile every time to look at them.