Friday, November 26, 2010


The cold weather creates a challenge for small birds, and for the last few days it has been below freezing.  The hummingbird is the smallest of the small birds that we see here in Washington with an average weight of about 4g (a nickle weighs 5g) there is not a lot of mass to freeze.  For them this means they must feed almost constantly in order to have enough calories to stay alive.  For me this means that I have no trouble bringing them in to the feeder and shooting photos of them from the warmth of my kitchen.  Warmth being relative since the window has to be open.  I took this opportunity to practice stopping motion with a flash unit rather than the camera shutter since no camera has a shutter speed fast enough to stop the motion of a hummingbirds wings.  Here are some of the results.   

This fist shot was lit entirely with the flash using no ambient light.  Hence the black background.   

This shot was done the same way but with a longer shutter speed and brighter background light. 

This photo was shot as the previous photo, but the motion was stopped with the flash.  The slight ghosting effect on the wings is caused by ambient light hitting the wings while the shutter is still open before and after the flash goes off. 
The shutter speed was set at 1/250 the flash unit was mounted about 1 foot from the bird on its lowest setting which creates a very short burst of light.  Now the trick will be to get that perfect shot with lots of detail and just a hint of motion on the tips of the wings to add something extra to the shot.

 Stay tuned for more. 

1 comment:

  1. Love those image, i also like the "slight ghosting effect" on the last one ;)