Saturday, April 21, 2012

Finally, Another One Of Those Really Hard-To-Get Shots Of A Hummingbird In Mid-Flight

So perfect, I could shed tears of joy.  Hummingbirds move so fast and unpredictably that catching them in the middle of open flight like this (as opposed to when they are conveniently hovering in front of a flower, like this) is no small matter -- yup, almost ALL photos of hummingbirds in flight you'll find anywhere are of ones hovering to feed -- and I've been trying so long and hard to obtain more of these clear, well-framed shots of one against the open sky.

Why even try?  What's the point of a photo in which the main subject is so tiny as to be barely even visible?  Well, to me there is something special about the flight of hummingbirds -- birds may be freer than landbound mammals, but being so small and possessing an insect-like ability to stop and hover in the air, and even fly backwards, hummingbirds seem completely free; and I find that nothing expresses their freedom better than the image of these tiny creatures darting bullet-like from spot to spot, abruptly stopping in midair then resuming, seemingly defying the rules set by inertia and gravity.  Silhouetted against the vastness of the open, empty sky, so comically tiny and vulnerable, they seem to embody the very concept of freedom, naked freedom that is both scary and exhilarating.

There were other fairly successful efforts before (for example like this, and these) but this shot is the undisputed best so far. Just to illustrate the point, 99% of my prior attempts resulted in either no bird at all, or something like this.

It's just a coincidence that the spread-eagle pose reminds me of the statue of Christ the Redeemer at Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro (that's enough, Sam).

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