Hummingbirds and a Toucan

Len just returned from an 8 day trip to Costa Rica where he photographed some of the 14 species of hummingbirds and some toucans.  He is sharing these gorgeous images with us. 

Oh yes, I did mention a toucan!  Perhaps as Len gets more editing of thousands of photos taken he will send me some more toucan images.  Having grown up in the tropics I can appreciate a good toucan!

Ah, a day later but worth the wait.  We now have a second toucan!! I love toucans!!

I was fascinated by Len's image metadata.  All these were captured using a Canon EOS 7D Mark II and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.  His ISO varied from 200 to 400. An aperture of f/11 was the most frequent with just one or two at either f/9 or 10.  But what stumped me most was the shutter speed, a consistent 1/200!  Here is a description he sent me.

"You asked about the shutter speed in my hummingbird photos.  This is some random thoughts, it is not a how to but more of an explanation of what we did.  It would be necessary to go to a country with lots of hummingbird species.  Go to a lodge in that country that specializes in hummingbirds with lots of feeders.  Hire a photographer who specializes in hummingbird photography.  He or she will have all the special equipment to take hummingbird photos.  We chose Costa Rica because it fit the bill.  You are in the rain forest so you need a covered area with open sides for the flash equipment and yourself and all your gear so you protected from the intermittent daily rain. The lodge would need to have lots of feeders out and have been regularly feeding.  The setup has 5 flash units and a reflector to photograph against and a stand for the feeder or the flowers.  you will need a tripod, a decent camera with at least a 300mm lens.  A 100-400 zoom was perfect.  It is necessary to have a remote release so you don't have to look through the view finder.  The camera is in manual mode and using live view, the focus is set on the feeder or flower.  The recommendation was ISO 320, f/11 and 1/200.  The flash stops the action.  Sit or stand holding the remote and watch the feeder or flower.  The idea is to catch the hummer as it comes into the same plane as the feeder or flower.  My thought is that because of the equipment and the special technique, it really isn't a do it yourself project.  Our guide, Greg Basco, an American who lives in Costa Rica, has a tour company that does it all.  There were 7 of us and he was able to help us get his technique down perfectly even for those of us who had never done it before.  I hope this gives you an idea what we did."

It did.  Your sharing and generosity is so appreciated.