Ghislain Simard

High-speed nature photography

A mountain, an orchid, a Hasselblad… and a movie


Speed Flyers, the movie


This small movie has for simple objective to show the precision required to work in macro photography with a digital medium format camera. Here, the camera used is the Hasselblad H5D-60 equipped with the lens HC 120 mm f/4 macro.

he movie "speed flyers" takes you on a strange planet . In this world, gravity has less effect on living beings. Physics laws are different since it becomes easier to rely on the air to follow impossible path. Time is slower and second turns into eternity. The evolution of species found there more opportunities to create a fantastic diversity.

Three hundred million years of evolution have allowed the insects to develop incredible flying techniques. Beetles hide large wings neatly folded under their wing covers . Bedbugs' takeoff is noisy as if they would turn on a small motor. Bees and flies have developed a morphology that allows them to perform hundreds of wing beats per second. Locusts and grasshoppers jump in a millisecond before deploying their translucent wings . The butterflies that look like flying flowers have a perfect mastery of the aerodynamic rules. Finally, dragonflies behave like real fighter pilots with their highly sophisticated wings.

To enter in this world, Ghislain Simard has developed special photographic techniques designed to freeze the fastest action of the insect world . He worked with the Hasselblad design department in Sweden to develop a hyper reactive camera and is equipped with special high-voltage flash units that allow a exposure time of only 1/111,000s ! The film "speed flyers" takes you on the field, with Ghislain Simard, to discover how high-speed shots are made.



The movies

Test footage : size of medium format sensor and image rendering


Dragonfly on the wing


I have recently written an article dedicated to the first mirror-less medium format camera, the Hasselblad X1D. It has been published in the French magazine Chasseur d'Images in April 2017.

In addition, I have recorded this short footage that demonstrates the impact of the sensor size on the image rendering. The test is performed with Hasselblad medium format cameras, the X1D-50c equipped with a 33x44 mm sensor and the H5D-60 equipped with a 41x54 sensor. In order to record the same picture, from the same point of view, with the same field of view, the X1D-50c is equipped with the XCD 90 mm f/3,2 and the H5D-60 with the HC 120 mm macro. Exposure 1/500s at f/4 on both cameras.

I wanted to put my new camera Hasselblad H6D-100c to the test. Indeed, I have to face very demanding conditions, including 4K macro videos and insect flight photography. This 4K footage demonstrates the capabilities of the new medium format camera equipped with a huge 40x54mm CMOS sensor. The H6D-100c lets me plan new projects for images never shot before.



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