The Queen

Photographing hummingbirds in flight and in natural light is one of my absolute favorite things. Last night I had some dramatic lighting to go along with the dramatic attitudes of the evening feeding frenzy. The trees across the yard were in shadow and gave me a nice dark background.

Specific Feedback Requested

I’m open to any and all feedback on the image. This photo is minimally processed, and mainly I just messed around with the crop and bringing up the shadow detail on the bird a bit. Does the crop look ok? Is it too dark?

A second topic question - Since prints often come out darker, do you think if I printed this image, would it be too dark? Or would it be better to brighten the subject some, to get better separation from the background?

Technical Details

Canon R5, 100-500, Handheld, 400mm, 1/8000, f13, ISO 3200


Oh my, Christine, this is absolutely stunning! Wow. The light is fantastic and the background nicely separates the bird. I like the dark mood here because it really highlights her. I wouldn’t change a thing.

You asked about printing. Yes, it would probably print too dark. So, my recommendation is to make a copy for printing and open up the darks some. If you’re printing yourself you can experiment to get the right look on paper. Images on our screen are essentially backlit. On paper, they’re front lit so the paper version needs more brightness to appear the same. You should be able to set your processing software in proof mode to approximate what it would look like printed…

Excellent image, Christine. I love it.

I like this hummingbird image very much. Lovely, dramatic lighting. If there’s a way to bring out a bit more light on the beak, I think that would enhance the image.

Printing: you said “since prints often come out darker”. That is an indication that your monitor is not calibrated correctly because there is no reason for the prints to be darker. Most of the time the issue is monitors are too bright unless calibrated, hence adjustments get made to make the image darker on the screen, but that isn’t actually correct and the prints end up too dark.

Sure you can guess at how much to brighten the image prior to printing, but it is just that, a guess. Far better to use a hardware calibration colorimeter to get the luminance and colors accurate on the screen.

Very dramatic with the pose and dark background. Well done.

Hi Christine
This is a very dramatic photograph. The coloring, feather detail, eye contact and lighting are great. If you are printing from home, the number of color and gray print head will have a big impact on the black to white levels. As Keith said, calibrating your monitor is needed. I used these test charts to set up my Mac.



Thank you, @David_Bostock , @Keith_Bauer , @Allen_Brooks , and @peter for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it very much! :smile:

Keith, I think you are spot on with trying to brighten the bill a little bit. I actually did recalibrate my monitor after seeing your comment, as that’s a good reminder. I haven’t printed a whole lot in the past, but I have been fairly happy with my colors and tones. I think what David said about back light vs front light is what I seem to run into. I think I’ll fiddle with all of this a little bit and give this one a try though. I’m pretty excited at the quality of the bird shots I can get with this camera! :slightly_smiling_face:

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Just outstanding composition and lighting. Excellent depth of field and detail. The pose is perfect. Yes it would be nice to lighten up the beak. But the rest of the colors are fantastic. Excellent job!
I have the same experience when trying to print images. They are all dark compared to what one sees on the screen. It takes a while for me to get it right. It is easy to overshoot making your printed image to bright. Even with all the tools such as a spyder colorimeter, it is still difficult. Making lots of test prints can be expensive because of the use of ink especially lately.

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Very cool image and like the hummingbird’s pose. I wish the beak showed up better, but you may want to reprocess the image to pull that feature out of the BG without lightening the entire scene. Lighting is awesome. I find that monitor calibration is necessary for getting ideal prints. Most monitors are set way too bright because of default values at setup. Calibrate your monitor when your work area is dark with little to no ambient lighting. We force ourselves to crank up the brightness when the work area is brightly lit. This one will mnake a wonderful print after you get everything set up for the print…Jim

This is a gorgeous hummingbird image, Christine! The natural spot lighting makes it very dramatic and the detail is very clean for ISO-3200! It wouldn’t take but just a tiny bit of lightening on that beak to make it more visible although it actually has more definition when viewing the large version so I don’t think it’s all that important.

Thank you @David_Schoen , @Jim_Zablotny , and @Gary_Minish ! :slight_smile:
I haven’t had the chance to get back to this photo yet (since I posted it) but I wanted to tell you all that I appreciate the comments.