Dynamite comes in small packages!
During our recent visit to Guadeloupe, we encountered the sweetest little Antillean Created Hummingbird.
The Hummingbird is amongst the smallest of birds, most species measuring 7.5-13 cm. They hover in mid-air as a result of rapid wing-flapping rates, around 50 times per second. This allows them to fly at speeds exceeding 15 m/s (54 km/h).
We spent a few hours admiring this majestic bird during a rainy afternoon in Bouillante, before one of our diving excursions.
Read more about our trip, Guadeloupe: Return to Paradise.
Antillean Crested Hummingbird. Guadeloupe, the Caribbean.
The wings of hummingbird beat at about 200 times per second. The range of shutter speeds that we normally use for fast moving subjects is between 1/250 to 1/1000 of a second. This is too slow to freeze the wings. 1/2000 and 1/4000 of a second are not fast enough to get sharp pictures or reveal the details of individual feathers. Some cameras go up to 1/8000, but even if this were fast enough to get take sharp pictures of hummingbirds, the light would be so reduced that you would be forced to shoot with a large lens aperture and a high ISO. These are not ideal solutions!
Using a flash works best. However, it’s not straightforward at all. The typical ‘flash duration’ is about 1/1000th of a second when used on manual. When the power output of the flash unit is reduced to 1/16th, the flash duration becomes much shorter. At about 1/16,000th of a second, this will be fast enough to freeze the wings of hummingbirds.
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