The Hummers of Summer – B&W Part Deux

After yesterday’s post the semi-perfectionist in me reared it’s pretty normal looking head and I took the concept of shooting it like film a step further. I culled the best of the images of my hummers from the original black and whites and took the original files and “processed” them like I would have if I had been exposing negatives in the dark room. I didn’t dodge and burn – but I played with exposure so that the images were as contrasty enough to really bring out the detail I knew was there in my “negatives”. No sharpening, no digital fixes, no sepia or pinhole. Just straight B&W with an exposure adjustment. I think this is a pretty fair comparison – 6 good shots out of 30+.

Some random facts about Hummingbirds:

They lay 2 white eggs the size of peas.

Their migration is timed according to the appearance of certain flowers along their route.

A group of hummers is called a bouquet, a shimmer, a hover, a tune or a glittering – all of these seem pretty appropriate.

They flap their wings up to 75 beats per second.

They build their nests from spider silk covered with lichens.

A hummer consumes twice its body weight each day.

I love how this female appears to be whispering to the feeder.

I seem to get the most in-focus shots of this content female.

One of my males coming in for a landing.

Fluttering female from my neighbor’s “shimmer”.

The chubby female feeding. She is the calmest of my “Bouquet”

These guys dive bombed us as we refilled the feeder.

Thanks for giving these guys a second look with me.

The Hummers of Summer – A Study in Black and White

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This week I was reading a blog about my camera model and the author issued a challenge. Shoot it like a Film Camera While this blog is specifically about shooting an Olympus E-M5, this entry was one that I thought made a lot of sense to almost any digital shooter. Take your state-of-the-art digital camera, strip it of its bells and whistles, limit your options, and process it all using the same settings. Don’t look at the images for 12 hours – imagine you have dropped it off for developing, just like the good old days.

I decided to shoot some hummingbirds on mine and my neighbor’s porches. No ISO adjustments, no DIS mode, no noise control. Set the aperture, focus, click. I decided that I would “process” these shots in black and white. I saw a photo of a hummingbird on Facebook yesterday (the image at the beginning of this post – from the OSU archives) shot sometime in the non-digital past in that luscious yellowish black and white. I loved that the details were so silver and pristine with no color to take away from the purity of the image. I output my images in a black and white pinhole with a light sepia. All processed exactly the same.

What follows are 30 shots from my 36 exposure “roll” of imaginary film shot over the last few days and “processed” late last night.

Some are more successful than others. I love the way that they have a more natural feel in the absence of vivid red plastic. I was happy to see more detail than I had imagined.

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It’s actually a little liberating to shoot and hope for the best. It may not be my best work, but there are some that I really like the feel of. Who knows – doing something like this – stepping away from technology, will make me a better shooter. I don’t miss the color, and that’s interesting considering my subject matter.

Give it a try – shoot it like film!