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A dynamic finite element model has been constructed to simulate the behavior of low spring constant atomic force microscope (AFM) cantilevers used for imaging at high speed without active feedback as in VideoAFM. The model is tested against experimental data collected at 20 frame/s and good agreement is found. The complex dynamics of the cantilever, consisting of traveling waves coming from the tip sample interaction, reflecting off the cantilever-substrate junction, and interfering with new waves created at the tip, are revealed. The construction of the image from this resulting nonequilibrium cantilever deflection is also examined. Transient tip-sample forces are found to reach values up to 260 nN on a calibration grid sample, and the maximum forces do not always correspond to the position of steepest features as a result of energy stored in the cantilever.