Humming Blurrs

One of the great surprises of flying the drones is that humming birds seem fascinated. While along the side of a creek or river we’ll regularly have humming birds come out to check on us. They’ll come right up to the drones to have a look and then fly off. Of course, I want pictures.

If you’ve ever met a humming bird one of their defining characteristics is their speed. Those little buggers are fast. But I didn’t really appreciate it until trying to spin the drone sideways to snap a picture of the humming bird that’s right there. Until he isn’t. Maybe UFO’s are just really big humming birds. Anyways….

Switching to video I would just pan whenever the hummingbirds were about, check the video when I got home to see a bunch of blurry trees, randomly pausing on a tree. No humming birds. Oh well, try again next time. So then I was editing the duck video and grabbed some software to help that can easily view video frame by frame. Moving slowly through the video I could recognise the erratic flight pattern of that blip of light. Slowing to frame by frame I could tell that I had indeed captured a humming bird! But don’t get too excited.

According to Wikipedia a North American humming bird flaps their wings at roughly 53 beats per second. I was shooting at 30 frames per second. The first one I saw in the video only lasts on screen for 8 frames. That’s just under a third of a second. Very fast.

The funny thing is that once I slowed down the video and knew what to look for they’re everywhere. I’ve got one segment with 3 of them in frame at the same time. For a whole 3 frames – 1/10th of a second. And none of them are as clear as the picture above.

That’s right, the picture above is of a humming bird. Bottom left. Honest.

(Note: By dropping the resolution on the camera I can shoot up to 60 frames per second. Yes, I will be trying again.)

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