I try to capture Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in flight. It is much more difficult than I expected but I am having a great time. I try to take enough photographs in the summer to keep me posting all winter long. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Thank you all for visiting my photostream and leaving comments and faves. I look forward every day to hearing from you, my friends on flickr.

 

All photos are available for purchase through Getty Images, or you may contact me directly through flickr.

 

Dan

  

Here is a reprint of an article I did for N-PhotoMag:

 

Dan Ripplinger

Aka: DansPhotoArt on Flickr

Purveyor of Hummingbird photo art.

 

I am a retired from the US Postal Service and live near St. Louis, Missouri. I have been interested in photography since about 1970 when I purchased my first 35mm camera. It was a passing interest for many years but I did not pick it up again until I purchased a Nikon Coolpix 8800 Digital camera and started to work with digital photography, this was about 2005. That was also about the time I became interested in Hummingbird Photography. I tried shooting them with the CP8800 and found the focus was a little slow for shots of birds in flight. My interest in photography had been sparked by the wonderful images this camera produced so I upgraded to a Nikon D200 shortly after that. The rest is history. (I now shoot with a D7100)

 

When shooting Hummingbirds the D200 is mounted on a monopod with a “loose” ball head so that it swings easily as I track the birds in the viewfinder. The camera is usually equipped with a AFS Nikkor 300mm f/4 lens and a Nikkor AFS TC-14 E 2 (1.4x) teleconverter. Light is a real problem because I shoot early in the morning when the Hummingbirds are active. Between 6:00 am and 10:00 am. It’s hard to get enough light to support the 1/2000th to 1/2500th of a second shutter speeds so I mount a Nikon SB-800 Speedlight to the camera. After the first year I realized the SB-800 was a little too slow at recycling so I added the optional battery pack that cuts the recycle time in half. I have tried multiple flash set-ups but this seems to work best for me.

 

Preparation for Hummingbird photography starts early in the Spring before the birds arrive. Every year I start a variety of potted plants that attract Hummingbirds. These include Blue on Black Salvia, Red Salvia, Lantana, Penta, Hibiscus, Petunias, Begonias, Dahlias, Zinnias and Cosmos. There are also Perennials like Russian Sage and Roses that grow in the yard. All of these help attract the birds. I also put out several small Hummingbird feeders. The birds arrive around the 25th of April each year and stay until September.

 

My set up for Hummingbird photography is done on a 10x10 patio. That makes coffee convenient, and there are comfortable chairs in the shade of a canopy. Shade is necessary in the Missouri summers with temps around 90 and the humidity at 80%. I place one of the potted plants on a low patio table, elevating it above the other plants in my container garden. The Hummingbirds seem to be especially attracted to this one plant that is above the rest and will always go to it. I know not why, but it works. This also keeps the birds at the right height for photography and in clear view. I sit in a comfortable patio chair with the camera on a monopod ready to shoot. Then, it is just a matter of being patient and waiting for the birds to arrive. Hours of waiting punctuated by short bouts of rapid fire photographic action. I do love Hummingbird photography. You have to be quick since they leave as fast as they came. I am lucky to get 5 or 6 shots in high speed continuous shooting mode, and then they are gone and it is time to wait for the next bird.

 

I have thousands of Hummingbird photos displayed on the Flickr photo sharing site. Come visit “DansPhotoArt” on Flickr, and enjoy.

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zenman3 says:

Dan has to be the master and most prolific producer of stunningly beautiful humming bird photography on flicker over 2000 and counting as of the writing of this testemonial August 2012. Even with so many incredible humming bird images he always manages to impress with superb bokehs, hummers chasing or being chased by b… Read more

Dan has to be the master and most prolific producer of stunningly beautiful humming bird photography on flicker over 2000 and counting as of the writing of this testemonial August 2012. Even with so many incredible humming bird images he always manages to impress with superb bokehs, hummers chasing or being chased by bees etc. Dan has freely given me his time and advice on humming bird photography techniques, all I need to do now is to coax one or two humming birds to within shooting range and practice, practice practice. Someday I may even be able to post a hummer shot close to Dan's standards. Thank you for all of your help and support Dan.

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August 18, 2012