Thursday, March 27, 2014

Patience Pays Off !


For a long time now I've been trying to catch a hummingbird in the midst of free flight, close-up.  Which is pretty much impossible -- the critters move so fast and so suddenly that a lumbering human with a cheap hand-held camera could never hope to move quickly enough.  The most one can do is to find a bird in repose, aim the camera and wait -- zoomed in halfway so that the partial shrinkage of the visual field, which decreases the chances of snapping an image before the subject flies off-frame, is balanced out by the increase in the size of the image if one somehow manages to click the shutter in time.  A compromise of compromises, but that is all I could come up with.

And that is what I was doing today with this hummingbird, when it suddenly spread its wings, leapt off the branch, then quickly returned to its perch, only to take off again immediately, this time not to return.  I pressed the shutter convulsively, certain it was useless -- and sure enough, when I checked the image there was no flying bird silhouetted against the sky.  Foiled again..!

But then, I noticed something, and when I zoomed in, I realized I had inadvertently caught the bird at a truly unique moment -- the very instant it was launching itself off the branch!

I love this image!  And I'll wager there are no other hummingbird photographs like this on the internet.  In this "shoving off" position it looks so odd and awkward, so out of kilter with the usual, dragonfly-like grace of its kind;  makes me think of a child making like a flying superhero with its arms stretched forth^^.

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