BTS – Melvin the hummingbird

In Behind the scenes by Patrick

With my recent postings of Melvin the ruby throated hummingbird, I have been getting a lot of email about how I got the shot. I thought this my be post worthy as well as a podcast, to answer as many questions as I can and help others with this fun pursuit. Capturing these flying jewels is really a lot of fun, but truth be told, capturing in flight, they skunk me more often than not. So I have stacked the odds a bit. Like any species, if you provide the basic needs, food and water, you have a pretty good chance of coming away with some photographs. First thing is a feeder. Can be any kind you want specific to hummers. Fill the feeder with a 1:4 ratio of sugar to water. It might take some time, but they will find it.

Mine is near another favorite of the hummers, a Mandevilla vine, a natural source of nectar for them. As you can see in the picture, I have a perch for them which is nothing more that a stick I found on the ground while walking around. This serves as resting place for them so they don’t have to constantly hover.

Here is the setup I use to capture the images remotely. As you can see, I have the camera pointed at the perch shown in the earlier picture. I will go over the setup in more detail in a second. This setup in mobile allowing me to change the position on my patio to get the cleanest background I can. The actual rig is about 3 feet from the feeder.

Here is the gear that I use in more detail. I have the following setup on a RRS TVC-24 tripod.

Once all set up, I fire the camera remotely and with the Pocket Wizards, once attached to the camera set to receiver and the other in my hand as the remote trigger set to transceiver, I am good to go.

Here is the end result of all the hard work and mobile set up. This a great way to photograph this unique bird and it is loads of fun sitting back with a glass of Merlot just capturing images.

Share this Post