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Hummingbirds with the Canon 5D Mark II

I had brought my Canon 5D MKII along this memorial day weekend in anticipation of taking some set stills, but found myself on a small nature shoot. The subject was two hummingbirds who were hanging around a feeder that was put out. I put a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L series lens on my camera and had hoped to at least get a few out of focus pictures of these very fast birds. Instead I decided to put the 5DMKII into video mode and the shutter speed at 4000 making the appropriate adjustments to aperture and ISO settings. I waited frozen for a few minutes and then one flew up to the feeder and then banked off into the sky within seconds. I decided to throw the lens into macro mode and go even closer, knowing they would be back for the sugar water to fuel the pace at which they were flying. Within 4″ of the lens the female flew into frame and decided to stay a while completely ignoring me (frozen still with camera). She stayed for over 60 seconds and flew out of frame making for the perfect shot. I had never thought of using the 5DMKII for nature work (video) in the past and this experience made me rethink a few things. I had shot nature footage before with long lenses on my Aaton XTR cameras, and the Arri SR2, etc but it was always a lengthy process and required a lot of gear to make it happen. I had also shot stock footage of turtles, frogs, cranes, and other water animals with XL2’s, SDX900’s, etc but it too wasn’t the same as this experience. Being able to stealthily whip out the 5DMKII and within seconds start shooting hardly seemed like work. Getting to the shutter speed, ISO, F-Stop, and Depth of Field preview all took seconds to accomplish. I highly recommend a follow focus and basic support, as the camera is front heavy with most lenses and hand-holding can become very fatiguing fast (especially the the heavy lens, battery grip, and other accessories). Outside of that setups were a breeze and really allowed for a lot of freedom to rapidly adjust settings. In the future I would definitely bring a Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens and maybe the 185mm f/3.5L Macro USM which would have yielded much better results. A tripod or mono pod couldn’t have hurt either. 😉 Mike Sutton Senior Account Manager Rule Boston Camera 617-227-2200 x 206