This article features some hummingbird moments that were captured handheld about six and a half years ago at Ruthven Park in Cayuga Ontario.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
I’ve often found it amusing how much emphasis some bloggers place on sensor size and age, as well as megapixels. The way some folks talk you’d think it was absolutely impossible to do any kind of photography unless you have the latest full frame camera with a high density sensor in it.
I was going through some of my photographic archives when I came upon these hummingbird moments. I can recall capturing these images while sitting patiently on a bench waiting for the hummingbirds to return to some feeders and flowers adjacent to the birding hut.
Given how long it has been since I captured these hummingbird moments my best guess was that I was shooting at 15 frames-per-second with my Nikon 1 V2, using continuous auto-focus.
I really enjoyed using the Nikon 1 V2 in combination with the 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 VR for birding. The gear was light and fast focusing, as well as providing outstanding reach. I could go out all day long and not get fatigued. The trade-off was that the V2’s CX 14 MP sensor was one of the lowest rated sensors of its time with only 10.8 stops of dynamic range.
The limited dynamic range meant I needed to be creative with my post processing and I usually ‘double bumped’ highlights and shadows. This entailed doing some initial highlight and shadow adjustments in DxO, and then being really aggressive with those same settings in PhotoShop.
When I processed the RAW files for this article yesterday evening I used -100 highlights and +100 shadows with most of these images so I could push them to the maximum.
As long as we learn how to get the most out of our gear the hardware inside our cameras is a secondary issue. We can own top drawer gear, but if we fail to capitalize on our photographic opportunities and miss getting our shots, all the dynamic range and megapixels in the world don’t mean a thing.
I think many photographers would be better served by assessing the handling and ergonomics of cameras, rather than fixating on sensor size and megapixels. A camera that handles smoothly and quickly will lead to more successful image captures. My diminutive Nikon 1 V2 gave me all kinds of freedom and portability, which in turn allowed me to have a blast photographing birds.
Spending some time with these hummingbird memories was a very enjoyable pastime. They helped me relive some great experiences, and also had me think about making the trek out to Ruthven Park later in the spring.
2022 looks like it could be a busy year with camera equipment announcements. Some photographers may suffer a bit of depression if they get fixated on wanting new gear but don’t currently have the financial capacity to do so. The camera gear that we may own isn’t nearly as important as the person looking through the viewfinder. That’s where the magic happens.
These hummingbird moments that I captured with my Nikon 1 V2 back in September 2015 remain some of my favourite bird photos. These images were created by a much maligned, 1-inch, 14 MP, small sensor camera. .. but it still got the job done and that’s all that really matters.
Regardless of the camera gear that we may own, it’s important to get our on a regular basis and capture some memories with it. The true value of a camera is in what it helps us capture, experience and document.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Crops are indicated. Photographs were resized for web use. This is the 1,134 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
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