Friday, July 24, 2009

Joyas Volardores!

Hummingbirds are our tiniest and the most fascinating birds that will visit your backyard. Early Spanish explorers to the new world called them Joyas Volardores or flying jewels. Unique to South, Central and North America, they are found no where else in the world. If you need visual evidence of almighty God as creator of the universe and all things therein you need look no further!

Hummers are one of the most difficult nature subject to photograph. Their tiny size coupled with incredible speed and unpredictable movements are a real challenge. There are four types of hummer photos: 1) wings a blur which is how we generally see them, 2) wings "frozen" in place (high speed flash is usually necessary to accomplish this) 3) a combination of the two which is actually two images with one produced by flash and another produced by existing daylight and 4) the bird at rest on a perch or nest. I've had a life long fascination with them and have tried photographing them off and on but got more serious about it about five years ago when I began reading about the technique of using high speed flash to illuminate them. They're also easy to work with from a wheelchair. I'm a slow learner but now occasionally get a good shot or two. I've outlined the techniques of lighting these animated ping pong balls and some general information about them in an earlier post so won't repeat all of it here.

This tiny guy has been driving me crazy trying to get on film. Of about 30 shots this was the best.

"Where is the person who, on seeing this lovely little creature moving on humming winglets through the air, suspended as if by magic; flitting from one flower to another, with motions as graceful as they are light and airy, pursuing its course over our extensive continent, and yielding new delights wherever it is seen;--who, on observing this glittering fragment of the rainbow, would not pause, admire, and instantly turn his mind with reverence toward the Almighty Creator, the wonders of whose hand we at every step discover, and of whose sublime conceptions we everywhere observe the manifestations in His admirable system of creation?--There breathes not such a person; so kindly have we all been blessed with that intuitive and noble feeling--admiration!"

~ John James Audubon

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