I am so happy to be back in Madera Canyon at the Santa Rita Lodge. This is one of my favorite wildlife trips and locations. It brings a great location, an interesting camera setup, and a challenging subject.
You need patience and discipline to get these guys in your frame and tack sharp. If you just dart around trying to get the bird in the frame, it will be gone by the time you hit the shutter button. You need to focus on the bird and what it is doing. Set up your camera of where the bird is going to be. That may be on a perch before heading to the feeder or water. Sometimes they hover right before they get to the feeder. That’s the best time to get them.
You will also need good lighting. These birds have bright reflective feathers that will catch the light, such as the broad-billed hummingbird above. This bird was photographed with the Nikon D500 with the Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED and 2x SB-5000s. I will save another post on why I am using the D500. For the birds we are photographing in the western US, many of them have a bright gorget that just reflects awesome light. We have a new set-up this year that I am really liking. One light is to bring out the color in the bird and the other is aimed right at the gorget. Nikon’s new wireless flash system allows me to set different light powers for each speedlight and except for the battery packs, there are no more messy cords to fire the flash.
I think this is a pretty neat setup and my next post will get more in to the rig which I think many people will find interesting.