Not What You Might Think

Article and photo by Al Perry

Black-chinned hummingbird - West Texas, August 2013
Black-chinned hummingbird – West Texas, August 2013

It might appear to many that the photo of a hummingbird feeding on flower shown below was photographed with a fast shutter speed on a sunny day. How else could you stop the motion of wings of a 3 inch sized bird that is flapping its wings 75 times each second? Also, it appears a wide open aperture was used to create the out of focus back – ground. Keep reading.

Actually, the shutter speed was only 1/200th of second. Artificial light was used in the shade to light the scene and stop action of the hummingbird hovering at flower. The flash was powered at 1/32 of full power to create a short duration of light less than 1/10,000th of a second, causing wings to freeze. As to aperture, f/25 was used to achieve focus of the humming – bird and flower. The background was beyond the depth of field of the 600mm lens focused at near minimum focus of 15 feet and therefore, out of focus.