Hummingbird Quick Visit

This article features some photographs of a hummingbird quick visit which were captured using Bird AI Subject Tracking in combination with Pro Capture L. I used an E-M1X and M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS zoom lens.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 400 mm, efov 800 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-5000, Bird AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3588 pixels on the width, subject distance 4.5 metres

My wife tries to attract a variety of birds to our backyard with various flowering plants and a trio of birdseed feeders. She also keeps two hummingbird feeders refreshed with some ‘nectar’ every few days during the spring and summer birding season.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 400 mm, efov 800 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-5000, Bird AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3804 pixels on the width, subject distance 4.5 metres

This year we’ve seen very few hummingbirds and butterflies in our backyard. Perhaps this is being caused by climate change affecting the habitat of migrating species.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 400 mm, efov 800 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-5000, Bird AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3623 pixels on the width, subject distance 4.5 metres

Many years ago, I built a small, two-level pond in our backyard. It is positioned adjacent to our rear deck and has excellent visibility from our kitchen window. We keep it running 7/24 all year long to provide area birds with drinking water and a place to bathe. This helps with the population of birds in our backyard.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 400 mm, efov 800 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-5000, Bird AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3959 pixels on the width, subject distance 4.5 metres

During warmer months, I’ll often sit on the back deck not too far from the pond so I can observe various birds and try to capture some photographs of them coming in to land at the pond. Or taking off after they’ve had a drink or bathed.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 400 mm, efov 800 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-5000, Bird AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3414 pixels on the width, subject distance 4.4 metres

A few days ago, I was relaxing on the deck with my camera when a hummingbird suddenly appeared right in front of me, about 2.5 metres (~8 feet) away.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 400 mm, efov 800 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-5000, Bird AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3646 pixels on the width, subject distance 4.4 metres

I had been photographing other birds with my E-M1X and it was set for Bird AI Subject Tracking with Pro Capture L at 18 frames-per-second with a shutter speed of 1/1600. This wasn’t a shutter speed that I would typically use for hummingbirds.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 400 mm, efov 800 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-5000, Bird AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3492 pixels on the width, subject distance 4.5 metres

All I had time to do was raise my camera to my eye, quickly acquire auto-focus on the hummingbird quick visit and fire off a Pro Capture L image run. The last four photographs in this article are from that initial ‘quick grab’ image run.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 400 mm, efov 800 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-5000, Bird AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3544 pixels on the width, subject distance 4.5 metres

The hummingbird darted off to visit our butterfly bush and then made a quick stop at a flower bud before it left our backyard as suddenly as it had arrived. I was able to capture a few additional images as it flitted about.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 400 mm, efov 800 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-6400, Bird AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3600 pixels on the width, subject distance 4.9 metres

When photographing hummingbirds, I typically use Pro Capture H in an attempt to capture as many different images as quickly as possible. Using Bird Detection AI in combination with Pro Capture L was unplanned, but produced some acceptable results of my hummingbird quick visit.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 276 mm, efov 552 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-2500, Bird AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3588 pixels on the width, subject distance 2.5 metres

This choice of settings is something that I will be experimenting with more in the future when photographing hummingbirds. I will likely tweak my shutter speed to 1/2500 or perhaps a bit higher.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 276 mm, efov 552 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-3200, Bird AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3689 pixels on the width, subject distance 2.5 metres

As is often the case when photographing birds-in-flight, eye/hand coordination and quick reflexes are important factors. Especially when we have a surprise like our recent hummingbird quick visit.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 276 mm, efov 552 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-3200, Bird AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3602 pixels on the width, subject distance 2.5 metres

Technical Note:

Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Pro Capture L was set for 10 Pre-Shutter Frames with the Frame Limiter turned off. I used a single AF point with Bird AI Subject Detection as is my standard practice. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard approach in post.  Images were resized for web use. This is the 1,198 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 276 mm, efov 552 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-3200, Bird AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3794 pixels on the width, subject distance 2.5 metres

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