Anna’s Hummingbird

This male Anna’s Hummingbird had just finished chasing off another male from his territory. I guess he was cleaning up after the hard fight.

Specific Feedback Requested


Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Nikon D3400
ISO 400



You captured an interesting pose for this tiny, feisty bird. The lighting is challenging in this situation and your overall exposure is fairly close, but you can still bump up the exposure slightly to get shadow detail. High key photography requires some extra work in post processing to get it right. The shadows are very dark and hide details, especially on the head. Sometimes, fill flash is necessary to help with dark shadows in nature photography. That’s another topic for the future. The hummingbird’s head is soft so you have to make sure to get your autofocus honed in on the head (especially the eye!). There is lots of purple/blue and green fringing on the edges of the branches and subject. It is a characteristic of the lens under this type of lighting. I usually correct for this in lightroom. The orphaned OOF stick on the LH side can be removed because it distracts the eye from the subject.

If you took this photo recently, the hummingbird may frequent this perch often, so get back out there and work on your technique. Try photographing in better light so the subject is lit more from the side. Pick a smaller aperture to capture the bird in better focus (more DOF). Try f8 if you have necessary light. Post processing can be used to pull details from shadowed areas. I like your attempt and further work means that you have to get back out there with your rig. Not a bad way to spend the morning out in the field…Jim

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You got a dandy pose of the little fellow Vanessa. Lots of good suggested tweaks from Jim.

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@Jim_Zablotny @David_Leroy , Thank you both, for looking and your feedback Jim. This hummingbird lives not too far from me so I see him a lot but usually always on the same tree and I don’t have a lot of options for position. But I did get different lighting the day before, not sure if this looks any better?..there is a branch in front that I couldn’t do anything about, oh, and I can’t move to the left because I’m right on the edge of the sidewalk and the ground beside is wetlands …

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Jim covered the issues admirably, Vanessa. That twig in front on the second shot is most unfortunate, but if you can spend some time there I’m sure he’ll land somewhere else with a better angle. Unfortunately the males of this species seem to like the tops of trees as their perches. If this is close to your home, put out a hummingbird feeder and a perch near it. He (or the one he was fighting with) could very well decide to claim it as his property. Since you’re setting up the perch, you can set it up to your own advantage and you can change it out to provide some variety in images.


Hi Dennis, yeah, I’ve gone back and forth about feeding birds around here. I rent and the only place I could put something would be in this very narrow area (4 feet wide) between my place and some tall bamboo bushes with a shed at the end making a dead end. There’s a ton of cats always coming through and I feel like it could be a death trap for the birds.

Hi Vanessa, the issues were covered well above. Too bad about the cats. Perhaps affixing a solitary perch where he likes to hang out would be a possibility.

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