I took these during the midday sun, today. By bouncing a flash off a big piece of white mat board lying on the ground under the birds, I was able to get some light on their undersides without blasting them directly into the eyes.
Hi Kelly. Thanks for the nice comment on the images. It was partly cloudy. I needed 800 iso to create a 1/1250s shutter to freeze the wing beat, plus the females were fighting over the feeder and a male was acting as a complete bully. There were 5 or 6 birds buzzing in and out in a complete feeding frenzy.
My skills with a flash are not very good, but I was thinking about adjusting my rigging to get better overall lighting by bouncing some with a additional flash and reflector.
Or getting there when the light is better, like early in the morning. These guys will be here until October, so I've got plenty of time to photograph them. They just started coming to the feeders in numbers, because (I assume) the wildflower bloom of Spring is over and no one has any feeders out, because it is farm and cows country with very few residences.
If you have any suggestions about photographing hummingbirds, let me know. Sorry about running on so long!
Capturing humming bird images is addictive. The article that Jim referenced to you has some good info.
When I take hummer images I use at least 3 flashes if not 4. I like to set up my camera on a tripod mounted to a side kick. I have found that if I can use umbrellas I can better focus the light in the direction that I want to shoot. I also like to shoot early morning or late evening so that the flash is dominant light. You have use your flash at a low setting like 1/64 or if you can 1/128s. In other words, the lower the flash setting the faster the light not power. This is what will stop the wings. The faster light flash. My feeders are set up on my deck so that makes it pretty simple to do. I can put a SB600 with diffuser on the deck rail on a clamp to light the underneath side and the 3 SB800's were I like. Some times I like to isolate the birds by using high key or low key set up. For high key I just take a piece of 24X36 inch white foam core board attached to a light stand about 5 feet opposite my camera position.
You can do this with less flashes but you just have less light to work with.
Lots of great info right here on Nikonians a great place.
Tom, Great angles on those little guys! ISO 800 is a very clean ISO on a D800. I wouldn't hesitate to shoot all the way up to 2000. The advice of more flashes is good too as the flash burst will freeze the birds better than non-flashed high SS set up could.