A camera that sheds new light on the hummingbird

 
anand-varma-slo-mo-videos-hummingbirds-designboom-1800.jpg

slow motion video reveals an unprecedented look at hummingbirds' lives

a phenomenal creature, hummingbirds have been studied intensively throughout mankind because we all know their secrets remain imperceptible to the naked human eye. in order to understand their intricate small bodies, saturated feathers, rapid wing-flapping rates and humming noise, researches have used many different technologies to uncover their mysteries. in a further attempt to understand this species, photographer anand varma has used a camera capable of capturing 3,000 frames per second to freeze in time the bird’s activities. 

a high speed video showing the movements of hummingbirds 100 times slower than the naked eye can see

the series of images and the video by anand varma in collaboration with ornithologist christopher clark are part of an article on hummingbirds for national geographic’s july issue. the coverage offers a detailed look into how these birds fly, shake, and drink in slow motion. the high-speed camera used to make the video is able to capture 500 frames each second, revealing what a 19th century scientist could only guess.

anand-varma-slo-mo-videos-hummingbirds-designboom-001.jpg

hummingbird shaking off rain with each twist lasting four-hundredths of a second
photograph by anand varma, sources: victor ortega-jimenez and robert dudley © national geographic

‘by slowing down time, scientist learn more about what happens when biology brushes up against the laws of physics,’ writes national geographic. ‘there’s stuff that you absolutely do not see with the naked eye,’ clark says. ‘put a high-speed camera on it, and you’re like ‘holy cow! that’s what the bird’s doing?’

anand-varma-slo-mo-videos-hummingbirds-designboom-003.jpg

the hummingbird’s hovering ability lies in the near symmetry of its wing motion
photograph by anand varma, sources: victor ortega-jimenez and robert dudley © national geographic

anand-varma-slo-mo-videos-hummingbirds-designboom-002.jpg

dodging obstacles by altering wing strokes
photograph by anand varma, sources: victor ortega-jimenez and robert dudley © national geographic

anand-varma-slo-mo-videos-hummingbirds-designboom-004.jpg

an experiment illustrating how heavily hummingbird flight depends on the bird’s visual perceptions
photograph by anand varma, sources: victor ortega-jimenez and robert dudley © national geographic

anand-varma-slo-mo-videos-hummingbirds-designboom-005.jpg

hovering inside a special chamber that can record the tiny wave of pressure generated with every wingbeat
photograph by anand varma, sources: victor ortega-jimenez and robert dudley © national geographic

anand-varma-slo-mo-videos-hummingbirds-designboom-006.jpg

‘it’s thought that birds in general may monitor the height of objects looming in their visual field’
photograph by anand varma, sources: victor ortega-jimenez and robert dudley © national geographic

anand-varma-slo-mo-videos-hummingbirds-designboom-007.jpg

‘letting hummingbirds loose in wind tunnels allows researchers to probe the mechanics of flight’
photograph by anand varma, sources: victor ortega-jimenez and robert dudley © national geographic

anand-varma-slo-mo-videos-hummingbirds-designboom-008.jpg

weighing the birds
photograph by anand varma, sources: victor ortega-jimenez and robert dudley © national geographic

From Designboom

 
SuperUltra