BASICS: "Hummingbirds.....where is the person, I ask, who, on observing this glittering fragment of the rainbow, would not pause, admire, and turn his mind with reverence..." (J. J. Audubon).
This is a blog about my summer life at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary, at my winter garden, Calypso, in the Bahamas, and aspects of life in general.
This private sanctuary is now permanently closed to the general public, as a result of a lawsuit brought by a neighbor. Only my friends and personal guests may visit (

Friday, June 13, 2014

Fred glows

Fred, the 2014 resident male hummingbird at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary, is now perching in an even more favorable spot: at the tip of a bamboo pole, quite close (6 feet) to a bluff-top feeder Coral visits (though mostly she's busy with her nest). I can get quite close if I move cautiously (6 feet away). So with my 40 times zoom he is appearing quite large. I was away from the sanctuary for a bit more than a day, but when I returned this evening, some of the gloom lifted briefly and I was able to get this movie (and several others too). This was shot at twice the normal frame rate and played back normally, so there is effectively 2X slo-mo, which helps show the brief flashes of red gorget more clearly. However the slo-mo effect is better here than in previous movies which were shot at normal fame rate and then processed by Youtube to look slow. About 2/3 of the way through I zoom out, to show Long Island Sound in the background, and the nearby feeder he's guarding to the right. Then I zoom back in again.


  1. I'm now filming with a Canon Vixia G30 camcorder. This is their top-of-the-line consumer (as opposed to professional) camcorder. Of course it has suberb optics, with a 20X optical zoom, which I've boosted a further 2X using its digital teleconverter. However even that is not enough - even at five feet away from the hummer, he only occupies a quarter of the field. I'm thinking about adding the available 1.5X optical teleconverter lens.
    The camera has a lot of features, but the simplest and best is the manual focussing, which is absolutely critical at high zoom. In addition it features "focus assist", which simply digitally amplifies 2 times the viewfinder image while one is focussing (this effect stops when one starts filming). This is surprisingly useful, it allows one to get the detail crisp. But of course even with a tiny hummingbird if one focusses on the eye, the back is not sharp!
    In addition the camera will record at a double frame rate (60 fps), so with regular 30 fps playback, the effect is true 2X slo-mo.
    In addition one can further slow playback, but only by a small factor (~ 2X) otherwise movement starts to become jerky.
    The camera is light but of course far too large for the pocket. One can quickly review and discard footage using the LCD monitor, but of course the viewfinder is vital for actual use. There's a ton of other features, and a few annoyances, but on the whole it's a great camcorder.