For years, I’ve tried to capture hummingbirds in a kinda lackadaisical way. I’ve shot and shot and shot, but not thought.

Tonight, the hummers were zipping around outside, so I decided to do a little work on trying to capture them. I set my Hakuba up with the 20D and my 100-400L lens, and popped my speedlight on the body. Not knowing what to expect, and having some waning sunlight, I decided to go for broke, and put the camera at ISO 3200, despite knowing I would have some powerful noise in the images. This was an experiment, after all, and the results would be in the learning, not the images.

With that setup, I was able to shoot at 1/2000th of a second around f/4. Now, the only images that came out were ones where the flash fired, but I was able to isolate the wing beat of the little guys, and that was a success to me.

I tried reducing some of the noise on the images, but despite trying both Dfine and Noise Ninja, I was still left with a fair amount of noise. That tells me I need a slower ISO, and with that knowledge in hand, we’ll see what happens next.