A real hummer! With the Lumix GH4
During my recent trip to the US, I enjoyed a fabulous afternoon with a bunch of local photographer friends in The Arboretum at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Wow, what a cool place! As a former member of Kew Gardens in London I was initially expecting something grander or tidier, but within moments I'd spotted flowers I'd never seen before along with countless hummingbirds darting around bushes. To quote Top Gun, this was a Target Rich Environment - no wonder +Barry Blanchard
spends so much time here!
Several of us (including my good friend +Cynthia Pyun
) decided to go for the hummingbirds and started loitering around likely bushes, much to the dismay of more professional-looking birding photographers. Every time one of the little - ahem - fellas dived into view, we'd swing our cameras around wildly, rattling-off countless frames in our respective continuous shooting modes. Or at least that was my approach. I was constantly reminded of Joe Pesci's quote in Home Alone "Y'know Marv, you're not one of the great cat burglars"! And yet such was the proximity and frequency of the birds that we all managed to get some pretty respectable shots of them, considering we'd not prepared for this type of photography.
This is one of my best shots from the day, taken with the Lumix GH4 using the 14-140mm kit zoom at 140mm (280mm equivalent), and fixed focus to allow the full 12fps continuous shooting speed. I shot it at 800 ISO f5.6, with a shutter of 1/1600. The modest aperture on the lens meant the depth of field was greater than I'd like, with a background that's not exactly melted away into creamy bokeh, but it was the longest lens I had at my disposal and the image you see here is still cropped a bit. It really was pure luck, just trying to point the camera at the tiny birds and simply spraying and praying. If you want to see a much better shot, check out Barry Blanchard's stream.
Amazingly I also managed to get one of them on a 96fps movie clip with the GH4, slowing down the action by four times. You can find the slow motion video I filmed along with a bunch of other sample movies and stills over at my review in progress, which very soon will transform, Phoenix like, into my in-depth review. I'm putting the finishing touches to it now, so not much longer to wait!http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Panasonic_Lumix_GH4/