[Photography Ethics] How a Photographer Contrived a Hummingbird Shot

This bothers me, and seems to be unethical and deceptive business practice to me, unless the photographer is fully up front, telling every potential customer that he put sugar in the flowers, and that the beautiful floral background is a large print he hung on a tripod behind the flower, that replaced the feeder, which he placed there first so the hummingbirds would be accustomed to landing in this artificially created spot.

Replacing the feeder with a flower, and constantly spiking it with sugar:

Once the birds are acclimated to the position of my feeders and the surrounding flashes, I search for local flowers.

I remove the feeder and mount the flower in its place. The birds are primed to return to this location (they have very good spatial memory) for food. Some of them will leave when they don’t see the familiar feeder. But some will try the flower. To satisfy them further, I spike the flower with sugar water from a syringe.

Creating a fake floral background:

One consequence of setting all the flashes to be brighter than the ambient light is that a distant background will be black, as if it were night. That’s because the light from the flashes falls off very quickly at greater distances. (As described by the Inverse Square Law. … To solve this problem, you can put an artificial background behind the hummingbird, close enough to the flashes that it will be properly exposed (but far enough back to avoid shadows). In this case, I’d prepared several backgrounds at home that were natural looking blurs of plants and flowers similar to what we’d find in Ecuador. I often shoot out-of-focus pictures of flowers and vegetation for this purpose, and further blur them in Photoshop. Use your creativity and artistry.

Entire Article is Here:

How I got the shot: The Long-tailed Sylph – Hummingbird photography at the Equator, by Ralph Paonessa

Leave a Reply