Hunting a Colibri

Hunting a Colibri

So this is the picture which made me start a blog in the first place. I’ve been living in Querétaro, México on and off for the past 2 years. Maybe once a week I would see a humming bird (Colibri in Spanish) zipping and hovering between flowers. I really wanted to take a photograph of one but never seemed to have my camera handy. Then one Saturday night I had a strange dream (aren’t all dreams strange?) in which a hummingbird had flown into my apartment. Luckily in my dreams I am more prepared and had my camera in my hand. I ran around the apartment stalking the fleeting bird and taking as many shots as I could. The next morning I woke up with a mission in mind. I decided to take out just 1 lens, my 45-200mm Lumix. So my girlfriend and I set out with camera and books in hand to sit in the local park. We found a nice spot in the sun underneath a tree and made ourselves comfortable. Around 45 minutes later, in the distance I saw a tiny bird hovering and flying around frantically as hummingbirds do. I kept tracking it, and by some great luck the bird came right over to the tree we were sat beneath. I started snapping pictures and suddenly hit my first problem! The bird was so fast and the background so busy I simply couldn’t get the camera to focus. I had spent some time before hand setting up the ISO, Aperture and shutter speed as I knew how fast these birds can be. I hadn’t imagined that getting the correct focus would be the problem. Out of all the shots I took this one came out the best.

Lessons Learned:
1. Be patient and be focused. Set yourself a challenge and have in mind what picture you want to create. Then choose the correct equipment and go out with the intention of taking the picture you want. This is the first time I’ve actually decided to sit and wait for the right opportunity to come as opposed to aimlessly heading out with a camera, running around in the wilderness and hoping by chance I’ll get a good picture.
2. Set up your camera before hand so that when that ephemeral moment comes, you don’t waste them crucial seconds playing with the settings.
3. Take practice shots. Before the bird arrived I practices taking shots of a hornet which was flying in a similar pattern to the hummingbird.
4. The problem concerning focusing… I still don’t know the answer. Ideas I will try out include, manual focus, focus lock and saving up for a new camera. Any suggestions please feel free to comment!

Camera Set up:
Camera: Panasonic Lumix G2
Lens: Lumix 45-200mm @ 97mm
Shutter: 1/1600 sec

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