Tuesday, October 6, 2009

1,200 Beats Per Minute

Have you ever spent any time watching a hummingbird?  I've always been captivated by these tiny, stealthy birds.  It's amazing to think that the average hummingbird weighs as little as a penny, and according to the Audubon Society it's heart rate during the day is more than 1,200 beats per minute. Compare that to the average human heart rate, which is about 72 beats per minute.

I sat outside for hours as various species of hummingbirds buzzed my ear.  I could hear them as they approached as their beating wings provide a distinctive hum--this giving me time to ready my camera eye.  Often two at a time would dance around the air fighting for their chance to reach a nearby source of nectar.  I never realized how aggressive these birds can be protecting their territory.  I've witnessed their attacks on wasps, blue jays, even a hawk was put to a challenge. These little birds seem to have no fear.  I admire them for that.  

The wings of a hummingbird beat so extremely fast, which gives them an angelic quality as they hover about, seemingly wingless to the human eye.  I found that capturing the essence of a hummingbird in flight proved to be quite challenging as they don't hold still for long. This holds true when photographing any subject, as time doesn't wait. Everything is constantly changing, which is why I love photography so much, it's the only way I've found to stop time.