When in Honduras for the new Trinovid HD press trip, we were hiking on a challenging trail that wound down a steep slope in the rain forests of Pico Bonito Park. As we were heading down hill we were separated on various switchbacks, when a mixed flock passed us bouncing through the canopy heading up hill quickly. We all got limited views of the many species passing but were only able to make positive identifications of a handful of the birds that passed. I had one clear window that offered a clear view of the underside of a canopy of a large tree that spread above me. The narrow and steep trail did not allow me to be nimble of foot or easily reposition myself for better or longer views as the birds paraded by quickly disappearing up hill.
After they had passed we were comparing notes of what we’d seen and double checking field guides to confirm our tentative identifications of the portion of birds we were able to identify in this rapid procession. I jokingly quipped, „I sure wish they’d pass again but in slow motion…“ Then I paused and thought about that statement for a long moment… „wait a minute!“
I wasn’t sure why I’d never thought about it before, but I could have made that wish a reality, and the answer hung lifelessly slung over my shoulder. My V-lux (typ 114) camera actually DID have high speed (slow motion) video capabilities at a full 400 mm (the equivalent of an 8x binocular)!
I’d used this function effectively to capture mostly birds in flight like migrating raptors in stunning slow speeds, but I’d never thought about using it to capture views of a rapidly passing flock of feeding passerines in a tropical environment like this. The feeding flocks in the tropics can be infamous for passing quickly and people often may only identify a portion of what they see. This capability could offer exciting possibilities for situations like this if only I could train myself to bring up that camera and hit record.
As an example of the capabilities check out the passing flock of Tree Swallows passing here. For anyone familiar with the speed at which these birds often race by and swirl, dip and dive, you can immediately appreciate how much easier it is to study these birds at length when they are slowed to a speed where they are easily followed. At any rate, it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks and under pressure in the field I hadn’t thought to focus the lens through that window and begin recording however I’m certain if I had I would have placed names to a lot more birds! Food for thought and a trick for you to try while in the field.