I did not slow motion the hummingbird at all in the one minute video above, but included stills from my DSLR to give the little girl a break. And boy, is she a mover and a shaker. You can see how fast the wings move in the video and see my photos from my DSLR below, which stopped the wings mid-flight.
Way up in the French Lilac.
Enjoy the photos that I have yet to publish. Many I have published already were the ‘beauty shots’. These were taken with my Nikon D7000, not the video camera, but I cropped them to video format. Click any to enlarge.
Just a tip for those unable to freeze capture hummingbirds in flight in camera …
shoot video. Then take frame shots from your video in your movie making application. Most newer video cameras have image stabilizing and what Sony has in mine is called Super Steady Shot. My camera is not new, but I shoot so little video, it is not worth me investing in a newer model.
The cover shot in the video is a frame from the video, not too terribly bad huh? You can get some good still images from video if you go frame by frame looking for those in the best focus.
The frame shot in the YouTube video is selected by YouTube, so it probably was not the best focused image. Plus, they really enlarged the image thumbnail, much more than the highly compressed video can handle for a still. But you would be pulling your still from the video pre-compression, so it will be much sharper.
My video camera is a Sony Handicam, a cute little video camera, easy to hold.
Then on the wing.
The Nikon D7000 was set to 1/1250 sec. f5.6, ISO 2000 for fast motion, Shutter Priority. The camera was handheld. Tip: the Vibration Reduction was turned off on the lens. The lens has a hard time focusing with the speedy movement.
Another trick for those of you wanting to get photos of hummingbirds more easily and in good focus, shoot them at a feeder. Even in places where they are plentiful, they use this trick.
When I was in Costa Rica, there were feeders set up at the observatory where I was doing research work. The hummingbirds were a bit less wary of people and about 30 of them would be at each of the four feeders. There were 14 different species of hummingbird too, many more colorful than the Ruby Throated shown here in Niagara Falls, NY.
They would land on your hand if you held it close enough to the feeder. Some landed on my head and others would come up right to the camera lens and hover. It was easy to get a photo of the bird being such willing subjects. I had my Nikon F2, a film camera, for this trip to the mountains and rain forests of Monteverde, Costa Rica. I cannot find my prints and slides of the birds or I would have posted them.
Here in the backyards of America, it is a less likely occurrence to have them land on a person, but the feeder is key if you want great shots.
If you really want to go to a place in the US that gets the birds, go to Madera Canyon in Arizona, known as hummingbird central, like Scott Bourne a well know photographer did early this year. Go see how a pro shoots hummingbirds in the post Photographing Hummingbirds in Madera Canyon Arizona – Part I. Then see his set up in Photographing Hummingbirds in Madera Canyon – Part II.
I think you will be surprised to what lengths he went to get his images. I agree with him it is a hard subject to photograph, but he did not shoot them feeding at their favorite flowers. He set up a feeding station and used stunt flowers to lure them in. You really should check out his post. I found it having much useful information.
Watch my video and you see why flower feeding is more difficult. At a feeder you almost have them stationary in one spot for an extended time. I don’t even set up my feeders, but I may to get some shots more similar to his.
Feeding at flowers, you have to anticipate their movement and be very ready with your camera set and focused. I find it much more challenging when they are going from flower to flower. With a video camera zoomed in, it is difficult to follow the action also.
Did you know that the hummingbird is the only bird in the world that can fly backwards? They flap their wings in a figure eight pattern at 50 times per second too. I could slow the video down, but it is not a good enough camera to catch the motion clearly.
They feed about every ten minutes and don’t walk for a meal. Their feet are too small for taking a stroll like say a robin does. Thanks to Scott, I got this info from his first post.
A flick of the beak, cool huh?
I did some post processing to vignette the images. I think it makes them a little more appealing. I added blur and a white vignette, it reduces a bit of the flower clutter.
That thin and long tongue pops out at thirteen times a second to lick up nectar. Another little trivia from Scott’s research.
I had this post prepared for a few weeks waiting for… a trip I am on at this time.
I have the previous week’s posts linked here for those that want some additional GWGT weekend reading. Bee Bombing is a funny one. I will see you when I return. There will be a scheduled garden walk post from this year’s Garden Walk Buffalo coming up, so don’t miss it. Plus another I did from Niagara Falls. So GWGT will refresh while I am away. Going park hopping, you will have to see from where when I return.
And when I return, I have a date with my camera club to shoot hawks, kestrels, falcons, and owls (Snowy, barred, great-horned), some in flight. Plus they have a scarlet macaw. It will be VERY COOL! My cockatoo will be screaming mad over my bird betrayal.
- Bee Bombing, Happy Monday Funny
- Urban Meadows, What A Biologist Thinks
- Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Have a nice weekend, see you when I get back.