This is part II of my Hotel California post. The hummingbirds. I think they play a big part of my fascination for the place. The hotel is truly great but the paradise association has to do with those small birds. And those birds are truly small. They are not much longer than a hornet! You can’t tell in the pictures because there is no reference point. Now I have it! Their body length is about the width of an iPhone 4. That is really small. They fly without the typical humming sound of their larger cousins.
I still can remember the first time I saw hummingbirds. I was in a small saloon styled restaurant close to Kamloops / Canada in the middle of nowhere. When I looked out of the window I saw a hummingbird. At that time I had no idea that they live that far in the north. Actually they migrate till Alaska and back to South America. Amazing birds. I still can’t imagine how such a small bird can fly long distances.
They are not easy to photograph. Especially when you just have a 280mm lens ( 70-200VR plus 1.4TC ) on a full frame you need to be very close. I’m talking about 2 meters distance! Of course that’s only possible if the birds are used to people. Those birds were – they live in a hotel! Some of the pictures are still slightly cropped. One of the rare occasions when I wished to have a APS-C DSLR. The new 70D would have been perfect for the job. Fast AF and fast 7 frames per second frame rate. I think I will get it to compliment my 6D before my next US or Canada trip.
But the 6D was not that bad at all. AF was fast enough and reliable and the very good high ISO performance of the 6D was a big advantage. I shot in M-Mode but with Auto ISO. I decided to shoot either wide open or at f5.6 to gain some DOF and with a shutter speed of 1/1000s to freeze most of the motion. Even at 1/1000s the wings a slightly blurred. Those birds are truly fast.
But to be so close to them was an amazing experience. Hope I will see them again when I return to the place some day.