Hummingbirds are small, colourful birds with iridescent feathers. Their name comes from the fact that they flap their wings so fast (about 80 times per second) that they make a humming noise. Hummingbirds can fly right, left, up, down, backwards, and even upside down! These characteristics combine to make photographing them one of the most challenging subjects. Their plumage needs “wrap-around” lighting to fully demonstrate it and to photograph their wings sharply requires high-speed flash – a flash duration of 1/100,000th of a second. To photograph these Hummingbirds in Costa Rica we took into the field a complete high-speed flash “studio” with four flashes being wirelessly triggered. The birds are not disturbed by the flashes as they are very low intensity and of such short duration: indeed they perched on them! The studio “portraits” were complemented by conventional photography of perched birds or flying birds with blurring of their wing movements.
© Robin Williams Photography