Every now and then those wonderful perks of automation and computerization come back to bite us in the backsides and as a result, present us with a result unexpected and poignant. I hate it when that happens. In one breath I curse the unexpected behavior of technology and in the next sheepishly accept credit for the unexpected results.
I was photographing hummingbirds in Costa Rica a couple of weeks ago. The light was bad, the conditions tough and the birds were uncooperative.
I did manage to get a few shots that were passable like the image above. I laid in wait with long lens for a bird to appear and then snapped as many shots as possible whenever the bird was unobscured. I kept my camera’s focus on full automatic and in AI Servo mode so that I could keep the flitting birds in sharp focus in each capture.
Auto-focus is a fickle mistress. It has no mind-no sensibility-no discerning value of judgement. It follows the movement of bird, wind, or anything else that disturbs its sensors.
As I panned across the flowerbed following the darting bird, the Auto-Focus chanced upon this foreground blossom-a blossom that was too near and too out of focus for me to divine. I didn’t even see the thing. The hummingbird did its Dip-Hover-Repeat dance as I squeezed the trigger. Just before the shutter tripped, I heard and felt the Auto-focus reacquire its target-the foreground blossom.
The button-press was too far gone to recall and the shutter fired as the flower flashed into focus. “Rats.” I cried, as the hummingbird disappeared into the tree above me. I cursed the Auto-focus again and went on about my business.
While reviewing images last night, my wife spotted this image over my shoulder. “I really like that one,” she said.
I told the truth. It was an oops. Albeit a pleasing oops. An oops I will likely print. If it sells, I will be very humble indeed.
Rikk Flohr © 2008