HSS and hummingbirds.

Mack

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Jan 14, 2018
Messages
1,233
I put one Godox TT685-O flash (E-M1 II) about 15" from the feeder to try and catch the hummingbirds in flight at late dusk with the higher speed of high-speed sync set at 1/8,000 second to try and freeze their wings. Trying to nail exposure too by altering the ISO and flash output. It was set to full power here and with the diffuser screen flipped down on the front of the strobe. Triggering is via the Godox XT1 (Menu system to get to some of the multi and HSS is a mess on it! I might try the Godox Pro trigger later on, but the Olympus EE-1 viewfinder is a nice fit on top of the show of the X1T trigger hot shoe.

The AF will not lock on in dim light with the 300mm f/4 and the 1.4x teleconverter combo so I had to set it manually. I need to come up with a target on a stick and position it in the flying area and focus on that. DOF is narrow given I'm about 12 feet away from them.

I got one in flight, but the wings are still blurry even at 1/8,000 in HSS mode. I may try 1/10,000 second and see if ti will still sync up and result in sharper wings in flight. If their wings flap at 70 times a second then that's 4,900 per minute and half that for a wing cycle would make it around 1/9,800 or 1/10,000 second. I think the claim of 60 times a second would be 3,600 per minute or 1/7,200 second (half-flap cycle) which I was at 1/8,000 but it's obviously too slow for the critter so wing speed must be higher than 60/sec.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Mack

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Jan 14, 2018
Messages
1,233
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
I suspected that using HSS and a fast shutter speed wasn't the way to go... and I found this article which talks about using low fast power/fast flash duration... hope it might help

The Secret to Photographing Hummingbirds

K
Thanks Kevin for the link.

I've been that direction too, but one thing no one addresses with using the short duration of a weak flash, say 1/32 power and a slower shutter sync speed of 1/250, is the ambient light may introduce wing blur if the flash cannot overpower the sunlight to a higher degree or working in a dark environment. A lot seem to set up a shaded outdoor studio along with a background but never spec the studio ambient lighting. Also, Godox only specs the TT685-O flash duration as 1/300 to 1/20,000 but no table on the sundry intermediate power settings. One of their newer studio pro units evidently does shows the flash duration with the power settings and may be better suited to this type of photography (Ugh! More gear needed.)

I did read the link and somehow doubt their wings flapping at 200 times per second. Most of the web says 60-80 per second. At 200, you'd need a 1/80,000 second speed to freeze them. With mechanical speed of 1/8,000 I still got blur so it must be more than 65/min. and maybe closer to 70/min. so I'll try HSS at 1/10,000 and see if it works or not even though the specs are HSS at 1/8,000. Someone down in the feedback part of the link also mentioned about using HSS as well for these critters.

Aside, I don't know if they flap faster in cold weather either.
 

Carbonman

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Jul 10, 2014
Messages
2,543
Location
Vancouver BC
Real Name
Graham
Aside, I don't know if they flap faster in cold weather either.
Maybe slower; there's more lift in colder (denser) air.
I don't think the tiny bit of blur from wing movement detracts from the first image, it conveys the act of hovering really well. Pictures of helicopters and prop driven aircraft don't look as good with no blur in the rotors/blades. I suspect this is going to be true if you completely freeze the hummingbird wings.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2013
Messages
1,475
Location
Colorado
I can't speak to the flash much, since I've only used flash on hummingbirds a couple of times. But,FWIW, I've tried lots of different shutter speeds with hummingbirds. I personally think that the sweet spot is around 1/2000. I've shot up to about 1/4000 with natural light, and gotten some interesting shots at that level, but I prefer some blur. 1/400 the wings are fully blurred, where you almost can't see them. 1/800 the wings are very blurry, but more visible. 1/1600-1/2000 (my personal most used) motion blur, but distinct wings. 1/4000 gives feather detail, but still motion blur, esp at wing tips. Faster if you want to completely freeze the wings, which I don't think is needed. The bodies can be sharp with pretty slow shutters, since they are hovering. I've gotten a pic at 1/60 with a sharp head, but blurry body and wings. I was planning on setting up some flashes with shoot through umbrellas in my front yard, but didn't get around to it last year. I may try this year when they come back, but I just wait for them to come to my garden, so no telling which plant they will be at (though they have a couple of favorites). They only stick around for a couple of months, so we'll see if it happens.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2013
Messages
1,475
Location
Colorado
If anyone finds the flash duration vs. power level for Godox products, I'd certainly be interested in knowing that.
I have a godox TT685O and a Meike/Neewer 320. We just happen to have a fast photo detector hooked up to an o-scope at the moment in the lab. I'll see if I can sweet talk my way into a five min flash test with those two units in the near future.
 

Mack

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Jan 14, 2018
Messages
1,233
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9
I have a godox TT685O and a Meike/Neewer 320. We just happen to have a fast photo detector hooked up to an o-scope at the moment in the lab. I'll see if I can sweet talk my way into a five min flash test with those two units in the near future.
THANKS! This should be interesting! :bravo-009:

This link has some duration info and how he did it, but no Godox: Actual Measured Flash Durations of Small Speedlight Strobes – Andy Gock Photography Blog

The HSS duration may be of help too as I notice it's weaker but much longer for the shutter's slot coverage. Godox seems to be manual wary of using it too long due to cracking the tube from excessive heat. I saw where some industrial flash units use water to cool the tubes which was interesting.

The Canon 580EX might be the closest to the TT685-O given that Godox claims the top duration is 1/20,000 second. I somehow doubt it though.
 
Last edited:

Mack

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Jan 14, 2018
Messages
1,233
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10
I upped the ISO and set the shutter to 1/16,000 second with a hummer in flight. That seems to freeze the wings as I can see some of the fibers in the mid-wing feathers below which I overly sharpened to see them. That might make their wing flapping around 130 per second if my math is correct.

Now if I design a multi-flash studio I may need to know what the speedlights can do and at what power level if I wanted the wings frozen or not. Maybe 1/6,000 might show some blur, but not completely frozen still. Wish I could get their in-flight fighting antics they seem to engage in here being territorial, but they are too fast.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2013
Messages
1,475
Location
Colorado
I upped the ISO and set the shutter to 1/16,000 second with a hummer in flight. That seems to freeze the wings as I can see some of the fibers in the mid-wing feathers below which I overly sharpened to see them. That might make their wing flapping around 130 per second if my math is correct.

Now if I design a multi-flash studio I may need to know what the speedlights can do and at what power level if I wanted the wings frozen or not. Maybe 1/6,000 might show some blur, but not completely frozen still. Wish I could get their in-flight fighting antics they seem to engage in here being territorial, but they are too fast.

View attachment 709337
Not just fast, it's really hard to get two of them in frame and/or in focus. This is the closest I've managed, but it's pretty rough.

P1190468_DxO
 
Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Mu-43 is a fan site and not associated with Olympus, Panasonic, or other manufacturers mentioned on this site.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2009-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom