Posts Tagged ‘monopod’

It was cloudy and there was intermittent rain, but some Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) were active at Green Spring Gardens yesterday. My macro lens might not have been the optimal choice for photographing them, but it is what I had on my camera and I was pleasantly surprised by the results.

As I have noted many times before, I really like my macro lens, a Tamron 180mm lens. Because of the crop sensor of my Canon 50D DSLR, the lens has an equivalent field of view of 288mm, which lets me use if as a telephoto lens in a pinch. The only down side of the lens is that it does not have any image stabilization so I have to pay attention to my shutter speed and/or use a monopod as I was doing yesterday.

I noted that the hummingbirds seemed to like a particular kind of flower, so I planted myself in front of a patch of them and waited. The hummingbirds returned several times and I was able to decent shots. As I was waiting, it began to rain a bit, so I opened my umbrella and kept shooting—the hummingbirds did not seem to mind the light rain. It must have been quite a sight to see me with my umbrella in one hand and my camera on the monopod in the other.

For those of you who are interested in camera settings, I was shooting at ISO 1600 in aperture-preferred mode with an aperture setting of f/5. The relatively poor lighting meant that my shutter speed generally was 1/500 or slower, which was not fast enough to freeze the motion of the wings, but did allow me to capture the body fairly well when the hummingbird hovered.

I have a few more hummingbird shots that I may use in another posting, but wanted to share these initially.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved


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It is exciting to photograph big birds, but it many ways it is even more of a challenge to get decent shots of the tiny frenetic ones, like this Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) that I photographed yesterday morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Golden-crowned Kinglets are really small, about 2 to 4 inches in length (8 to 11 cm), which is smaller than a chickadee and larger than a hummingbird. They seem to like to forage deep within the branches of the vegetation, so it was really tough to get an unobstructed shot of one.

I decided yesterday to try shooting with a monopod, which helped me to stay focused on this particular bird as it moved about and be ready when it perched for a split second in the open. My Tamron 150-600mm lens is a little heavy and I think that it helped my steadiness to have the additional support of the monopod, though it did feel a little constraining. I think that I will start using the monopod regularly now and see if my images tend to get sharper.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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