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kyle cassidy

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The Hummingbeasts of Arizona [Mar. 14th, 2013|01:26 am]
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[Current Location |THE FREAKING DESERT]
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

Long, long day, from Philadelphia to Arizona which seems insignificant if you think that people walked it in the past, with a couple of oxen, hoping that their map was accurate and they'd find spring water 140 miles away.....

Anyway -- the marvelous Kate McKinnon picked me up and I wanted to get started trying to photograph hummingbirds right away since the real reason I'm here is to photograph her next jewelry book and I wanted to get the hummingbird thing out of the way, or at least tested.

Last time I was in Arizona I had a go at photographing them and ... well, freezing their wings is elusive. Even at an 8000th of a second, which is my highest shutter speed, they still blurred. I'd been thinking for the past few months that it would be easy to freeze their wings with a 1/50,000th second burst from a flash, but how could you do that with a flash sync speed of 1/250 ... (camera nerd camera nerd camera nerd) ... and then I thought of a way it could work.

So that's what I tried, and with good results.

You can check out the results below & to celebrate, you can buy tiny square prints of tiny birds for tiny prices and hand them in the tiny spaces of your home. The prints are 5x5. Or you can just look at them. (And you can right-click & save them and use them for wallpaper or whatever.)




Clickenzee to buy tiny prints of tiny hummingbeasts at tiny prices!



The vicious little brutes are fierce and I spent most of the afternoon being bossed around by them. They contemptuously ignored the studio I'd set up and spent the bulk of their time in my face trying to start a fight. Peace prevaled in the end though and I got some very nice photos.

Estrella-Mar just got here from Rhode Island and we're both a bit loopy from the tired. Big day tomorrow in the desert with models and whatnots. So I'll leave you with the birds.

(p.s. thanks to everyone who's participated in the Peter Sagal demotivator contest. It's been fun to see them popping up on the Twitters.)





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Comments:
[User Picture]From: holyoutlaw
2013-03-14 05:46 am (UTC)

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Those are cool!
[User Picture]From: martianmooncrab
2013-03-14 06:26 am (UTC)

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freezing their wings is elusive

I have them in my yard, and they can be lazy little beasts, I watch them perch on various foliage here.
[User Picture]From: stachybotrys
2013-03-14 06:38 am (UTC)

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Very nice shot of one of the obnoxious little monsters. I am one of only a handful of people I know who very actively dislike hummingbirds. They sound like bees/wasps/hornets from a distance, and they are not polite about maintaining their distance, either. I have actually been pecked on the head by at least 2 of them. There are zero bird feeders in my yard.

P.S. Welcome back to Arizona!

Edited at 2013-03-14 06:38 am (UTC)
[User Picture]From: lois2037
2013-03-14 08:46 am (UTC)

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Those are lovely! You know, if you flit through the pictures fast, they get that flip-book animation look. It will take me awhile to decide which one I want to buy, though. They are each pretty remarkable.

There were a couple hummers in our yard when we lived in SF. I was told that hummingbirds are shy and reclusive, but I found them to be argumentative, challenging, and willing to buzz close to my ear if the feeder needed to be refilled. I miss them.

I'm glad to hear the next book is being photographed. I'm about to dive into the first one (which came today with beads, candy, and a toy surprise). I can't wait to see if I can make those amazing, geometric pieces.


Edited at 2013-03-14 08:47 am (UTC)
[User Picture]From: ladycelia
2013-03-14 01:30 pm (UTC)

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Camera nerd--How'd you manage to do it?
[User Picture]From: pds_lit
2013-03-14 02:23 pm (UTC)

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Great Pics Kyle! I love our hummers who should be returning at the end of this month. - can't wait! Our are very demanding little creatures who hover at my office window and chirp at me if they think the feeder is too low. :)
[User Picture]From: i
2013-03-14 03:49 pm (UTC)

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These are stunning, Kyle. I really must get me some lights...
[User Picture]From: ms_violet
2013-03-14 04:28 pm (UTC)

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pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty!
[User Picture]From: leeanndunton
2013-03-14 04:30 pm (UTC)

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SO GOOD! I live here in AZ, so I've tried to capture these things many times without much luck. :)
[User Picture]From: framlingem
2013-03-14 05:18 pm (UTC)

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My dad's made some lovely photos of hummingbirds - enough to cover a wall of their living room entirely with, it's gorgeous. They're a pain to photograph, with the quick direction changes, so I stick to seabirds. Gulls are at least predictable!

These pictures are fantastic. Anna's hummingbird I recognize, but which is the one with the blue front, do you know?

Edited at 2013-03-14 05:18 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-03-14 05:33 pm (UTC)

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hola! long time since worldcon! -- I don't, but someone here does, i'm sure.
[User Picture]From: framlingem
2013-03-14 05:41 pm (UTC)

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Very long time! Next one I'm going to is London, because that gives me an excuse to visit the extended family (who extend from Bournemouth to Aberdeen, lots of train travel!) on the same trip.

I did pull out my field guide, but it's a "birds of Northeastern North America" one, so not hugely useful for Arizona.

It looks like your hummingbirds are the aforementioned Anna's, the Black-chinned, and the pretty blue-fronted one is the Broad-Billed (the red beak's the kicker!).