So shooting monkeys in the jungle is tough. Shooting birds-in-flight is tough. Shooting little itty-bitty hummingbirds in dark foliage is almost impossible. I finally had to break out the external flash to get any images at all—but what I got was well worth the effort (I think). These beautiful critters flit all around our eco-lodge all day long, and are wild, wild, wild (not domesticated one darn bit, if there is such a thing as a domesticated hummingbird). Click on individual images to enlarge for better viewing.
Photographer’s note: All images were captured in CameraRAW with my Canon EOS 5D MkII camera and Canon EF 400 f/5.6L USM super telephoto lens. Additionally I added my Canon SpeedLite 430EX II external flash. Camera settings: 1/200s flash sync @ f/5.6, ISO 400, Handheld, Flash. All images were shot at approximately 3.5 meters (my minimum focus distance with this particular lens). RAW conversion and post edits completed in PhotoShop Elements 11 (I did not increase color saturation in PhotoShop, all colors are accurately represented—the flash did highlight the bird’s natural iridescent colors nicely).
Violet Sabrewing Hummingbird
The jungle growth here is so dense and dark that I think I will be forced to use my external flash a lot. Thankfully these hummingbirds weren’t phased by it at all—which has been my typical experience when shooting wildlife. I try to maintain my ethical and humane standards when shooting the critters (and even people), in this instance no birds were harmed (and, in fact, could have cared less that I was even there taking photos of them).
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Reporting from El Mochito, Honduras . . .