Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hummingbird Workshop-May2011

Ready, get set and capture the tiny Hummingbirds!!  What an exhilerating experience!

© M. Raeder – Photography

Hummingbird Workshop in the Santa Cruz Mountains
A beautiful learning experience
with Photographers Judy Bingman and Meggi Raeder

Once the clouds lifted, it was a sunny and warm day in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Eight eager photographers had made the trip to Judy’s Garden to photograph the tiniest of birds: the Allen and Anna Hummingbirds summering in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

© Judy Bingman
[More of Judy's images: http://judybingmanphotography.blogspot.com/]

Arriving at Judy’s, we are all greeted by Anna, the golden Lab and we find Kelly, one if the 3 cats, slinking through the grass.
© M. Raeder - Photography

Entering into the garden, brilliantly bright California poppies everywhere, the roses in full bloom and the hummers drinking nectar from the feeders.

© John Howell

The songbirds were there knowing that Judy’s feeders are always stocked with nuts, sunflower seeds and other goodies that are delicious to Grosbeaks, chickadee, pygmy nuthatch, finches and others. The acorn woodpeckers and the jays have their nut stations and life in the garden was in full swing. The visitors are also greeted by a flock of chicken announcing loudly each time an egg is laid. Amazingly, all the feathered friends are used to the resident house pets, even the cats, and all is in harmony.                     

© John Howell

We assembled our gear and tried to position our tripods on the favorite feeders. Questions of f-stop and shutter speed, flash or no flash were contemplated and then we all became quiet observing the hummers and concentrating on ‘getting the shot”. All of a sudden, Judy spotted a blue heron high above us and we all marveled at his elegance in flight. Then, a male hummingbirds exhibited his mating ‘dance’: when a female is in sight or on a feeder, the male will fly straight up in the air to a heights that he is hardly visible, and then he will bomb-dive straight down and make a squeaky noise when last minute before crashing he elegantly turns and flies away. It all happens so fast, that capturing this on an image has yet to be managed – we keep trying.

© Judy Bingman

After photographing hummers on the feeders, the next challenge is to capture them in flight as they approach the feeders. Good light, high shutter speed and shallow depth of field are necessary and with practice every one captures these amazing birds in beautiful images.  Below are some examples of the students' work:

© Daniel Houk

© Susanne Weissenberger

© Elaine Heron

© Angela Grove

Over lunch we exchange what we have learned, and review the various techniques of photographing hummingbirds with examples during a slideshow. Then we are in the garden again refining techniques, best viewpoints and paying attention of the backgrounds, light direction and factors enhancing the image capture.

© Vivek Ranjun

© Susanne Weissenberger

© Lynda Sanders

© Angela Grove

The end of the day arrives too early. Although exhausted, everyone is eager to just capture one more image.

We met again several days later to review our outcome and what a joy to see the amazing images that were taken during just one day of focusing on our colorful subjects!

Well done, Students!
Judy and Meggi

© M. Raeder-Photography

If you would like to learn how to photograph hummingbirds, please click on the Hummingbird Workshop Flyer and see details and the next workshop date.