Most of my wildlife photography up until now was done using a Nikon D500 and a Sigma 150-600 Contemporary lens. Although they are far from being a perfect pair, I was able to work around most of the quirks of this camera and lens combo to great effect. But every now and then I would lose focus just a tad bit during that critical moment, something that infuriates every photographer, no matter what genre they are into. Also, I was not able to print my work any larger than 13x19 (yes I want to print BIG) with a reasonable dpi that adheres to the standards that I have set for myself.
Yesterday evening, all that changed! The love of my life, my dearest wife Mary Dee surprised me with a Nikon D850 that has a 45.7 Megapixel full frame sensor and comes equipped with state of the art autofocus technology! Here are the first couple of shots from it, paired with an SB 910 flash unit. I used the sun as a rim light and the flash for fill light.
For this portrait of a Rufous Hummingbird, I used a very slow shutter speed of 1/25th of a second and a very tiny aperture of f/29 and paired it with the flash set at full power. I have been wanting to capture a portrait of a Hummingbird, using slow shutter speed technique and rear sync flash for a while now. I wanted to get the body and head still while the wings blend into a symphony of blur. Got to execute it this weekend and i am quite happy with the way this turned out! I didn't think that I would ever use a shutter speed of 1/25 sec on a hummingbird! The result was definitely pleasing artistically, to my eyes atleast!
For this shot the flash really helped with bringing out the various tones on the feathers of this young Rufous male. The result seemed more documentary than artistic; I would have liked to have had a bit more shadow to suit my taste honestly.
These last two shots were shot with the SB910 flash at full power, again beamed through a snoot so that it traveled all the way to 600mm. Really enjoyed the way the iridescence on the feathers shows off from the direct light off the flash.
So far, the D850, paired with my Sigma 150-600 Contemporary lens is giving me way more shots in focus, than the same lens with the D500. Once I get a bit more experience using this setup, I hope to make a blog post comparing my experiences with both these bodies.
Hope you all have a great week ahead!
Special thanks goes to my buddy Kelly Young for showing me her private hummingbird paradise nestled deep in the Pacific Northwest!