When Stan Maupin retired and picked up his DSLR to shoot the hummingbirds in his backyard, he was “dared” to recreate Christian Spencer’s gorgeous prism shots.
To begin with, the novice photographer did not understand the “complexities of balancing shutter velocity, depth of area, and lighting when photographing an extremely quick and smaller object.”
“The benefits had been not terrific at initially,” 73-yr-aged Maupin tells PetaPixel.
But immediately after he persisted and began to seize a single or two excellent pictures, Maupiun’s son instructed him about Christian Spencer’s photographs of hummingbirds that capture a rainbow light shining as a result of the small bird’s wings.
How to Capture a Prism Influence
Maupin points out that the sunshine has to be practically directly guiding the hummingbird and the subject matter are not able to be way too much away from the lens.
“This results in a number of problems,” says Maupin. “You have to entice the hummingbirds to a relatively exact place, get them to hover at an angle and placement exactly where they are not driving the feeder, acquire the shot although pointing the lens just about right in direction of the sun, and hold it all in just a slim industry of see as the sun moves throughout the sky.”
And this is before Maupin experienced to make a tailor made feeder for the birds which concerned a tripod mount with a vertical column of styrofoam attached to block the solar. Many little caplets of nectar had been connected to the side and top rated of the styrofoam with skinny wire.
“The column blocked the direct rays of the sun [into the lens], and the mini-feeders provided a a lot scaled-down profile that allowed the bird to be unobstructed by the rays of the sunlight. This resulted in a significantly superior ratio of useable pictures,” he explains.
Capturing hummingbirds is notoriously tough because of to their extraordinary wing speed. On the other hand, the prism pictures are basically silhouettes earning the digicam settings a tiny less difficult.
“Most of my pictures are taken with a shutter velocity of 1/6,400 or 1/8,000 and an aperture of f/18 to f/32 and the ISO can be comparatively lower,” suggests Maupin.
He takes advantage of a Nikon Z6 II with a Tamron GT 150-600mm with an FTZ adapter. But Maupin is effectively aware of the risks included with this kind of setup.
“Since there is no mirror to block the gentle, pointing the digicam into the sun runs the chance of burning the sensor,” he states.
“You really should be particularly mindful of both your own eyes and the eye of your digital camera. Also, be sure to clean the sensor often, as places are enormously magnified at the much more closed aperture options towards a easy blue or mild sky.”
Three Summers in the Earning
Maupin lives in Richmond, Virginia the place hummingbird period is approximately two months above the summer time.
“They are not abundant here so occasionally there is a good deal of ready, and the angle of the sun limitations shooting time to one particular and a 50 % hours in the afternoon and morning,” he suggests.
“I loathe mornings and really don’t have uncomplicated obtain to the morning sunlight, so I shoot in the afternoons, but the early morning would be substantially superior simply because of the heat.”
Maupin claims that prior to having on the hummingbird obstacle that his son put him on to he barely realized anything about cameras beyond the automatic method.
“When COVID strike, I properly retired and had time on my fingers and no position to go. I started off to perform with my Nikon D7500 and uncovered a tiny little bit about it,” he points out.
“One working day I seen the hummingbirds had been out proper in advance of the sun went down and said ‘what the hell, might as very well attempt it so I can say I tried.’ I didn’t do well that day but acquired an strategy that it could be possible, so I attempted a couple of extra situations.”
Inevitably, Maupin got a handful of what he calls “proof of concept” high-quality photographs right before the birds left in the final times of the month.
“The next summer time, I used about a thirty day period on it, but the issue was that only the clearest times will offer a prism impact and there ended up much too a lot of thunderstorms and cloudy days,” he claims.
“This year  I experienced factors pretty well alongside one another by the stop of July and was able to shoot as generally as I wished at a hit amount that was acceptable for the rest of the summertime.”
Maupin says the encounter has left him with a lust for pictures and he has created it into the final of the 2022 Washington Post Travel Pictures contest.
“I now have a compact existence in a area artwork heart and I concentrate on off-the-wall topics like hummingbird prisms, snowflakes, transitions of the space station across the moon, and Milky Way shots,” he adds.
Impression credits: All photos by Stan Maupin.