I’ve been burning the midnight oil recently with client work and I really needed a break. So, I spent a couple of hours on Saturday morning at Ruthven Park in Cayuga Ontario with the intention of capturing some images of hummingbirds in flight with my Nikon 1 gear.
I took one of my trusty Nikon 1 V2’s along with the Nikon 1 CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 VR telephoto zoom lens which provides an equivalent field-of-view of 189-810 mm.
I knew from previous visits to Ruthven Park that the best opportunity to capture images of hummingbirds in flight was in the area around the bird banding building. I also had a better idea on the camera settings to use this time around.
I set my Nikon 1 V2 for Manual, then adjusted aperture to f/5.6 and shutter to 1/3200. I then used the auto-ISO 160-6400 setting. I set auto focus to AF-C, selected 15 fps, and chose subject tracking. I anticipated that these settings would allow me to capture some images with good detail on the body and wings of the birds and also allow the ISO to be kept at reasonable levels given that it was a nice, bright morning. While not all of the wing positions were 100% crisp I found that a slight blur added some feeling of movement to the images which I found pleasing.
I positioned myself to create a shooting angle that would more than likely result with solid green backgrounds, or at least have some of the shrubs etc. that are in the area be far enough away that they would not be in focus in the images. As is my standard practice I shot hand-held and did not bother bringing a monopod or tripod with me.
A few folks have told me that August is the best month of the year in Southern Ontario to attempt to capture images of hummingbirds in flight as the young birds are all fledged and activity near feeders and flowers is at their peak.
After spending two very enjoyable and relaxing hours photographing these remarkable little birds I headed back home, but not before capturing over 600 images.
I really can’t imagine using another camera system to try to capture these types of images hand-held. My Nikon 1 V2 with the CX 70-300 lens attached only weighs about 1.8 lbs. (828 grams) which allows me to shoot with it hand-held virtually all day long.
Focusing is fast and accurate and I’m hard pressed to think of another camera system that can do an AF-C run at 15 fps. New Nikon 1 models like the V3 are even faster at 20 fps.
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Article and all images Copyright Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication of any kind, or adaptation is allowed without written consent.