Capturing Oregon: Birds of Summer
Summer in Central Oregon is a gorgeous time. In the courtyard of our house southeast of Bend, the lavender is in full bloom. The yellow flowers of the rabbit brush are starting to get pretty and the hummingbirds are all over the place. They fly in formations over our heads while we sip cappuccinos in the morning. It’s amazing how territorial these tiny birds are. Sometimes you wonder why they fight so much when there are so many flowers from which to feed.
Photographing birds is always tricky. It feels like they like to toy with us photographers. The sit there for a long time, only to fly off the second before you push the shutter. Some birds are constantly moving, so its hard to even focus. Not all birds are as easy to watch as the Solitary Bird or the American Robin. Hummingbirds are tough. They are small and fast and furious, but they also have their favorite perches and take their time feeding on flowers.
Usually I sit in my chair in the courtyard and watch what they are doing. I watch the light and decide from which angle I will be shooting, then I set up my sturdy tripod and mount my Nikon 500mm f4 lens. Sometime I use a 1.4 tele converter, but on this image I shot at 500mm with my Nikon D800 camera. The D800 has the advantage of having a huge file size, which lets me crop the image and still have enough data; but it’s also a slow camera so I can’t shoot rapid series of images.
I like shooting in my courtyard in the shade. The flowers get some good reflected light from the sunlit walls and the open area to the north. They are like a large reflector, and I get soft, beautiful light on the bird and the flowers.
I shot this image at 800 ISO at a speed of 1/800 of a second at f 4 to blur the background. I set the Kelvin at 5880 to warm up the this shaded area. I shot about 15 frames and got 4 images I liked, then went back to sipping cappuccinos.
About the Author: Christian Heeb
Christian Heeb is a well know international Photographer who lives in Bend, Oregon. Christian has published over 120 books worldwide and his work appears in national and international publications. He is the author of the book Travel Photography and together with his wife and partner Regula Heeb runs the Cascade Center of Photography, a studio, workshop center and gallery devoted to photography in Bend. Christian also leads photo tours worldwide. He loves to share his love for Oregon with other photo enthusiasts and is a contributor to our "Capturing Oregon" photography series.