The previous post notwithstanding, sometimes it’s rewarding to forgo complicated auxiliary illumination setups and see what available light will produce. The trick then is to nail focus on the hummingbird’s eye and let the rest softly fall to blur since to achieve enough shutter speed in the shade (where this was shot), a wider aperture is necessary, in this case f/5.6 — the widest the lens I was using could open and the result is very little depth of focus.
In this case, the background is actual sunlight peeking through a stand of trees with sun peeking through. The bird prepares to dive and the next shot reveals its target – a plastic feeder full of sugar water.
The camera I used has an extraordinarily high burst rate mode (20 shots per second with a single press of the shutter button) and in the image below the wing closest to the camera is almost on the same focal plane as the bird’s eye. Consequently some detail in the feathers is revealed that otherwise would be totally blurred.