Most of us find diminutive hummingbirds to be quite magical -- if we can get close enough to them, that is. But it is possible: musician Tracy Johnson, a resident of Livermore, California, snapped these astonishing close-up photos of these jewel-like creatures using handheld feeders out in her own backyard.
According to My Modern Met, Johnson takes at least thirty minutes in her backyard every morning, waiting patiently with her feeders in hand for her hummingbird guests to arrive. The feeders are filled with a mixture of sugar and water, which attracts the sweet-beaked birds relatively easily, but it takes patience and practice for Johnson to get a good shot of these speedy little creatures, which she uploads to her Instagram.
Some of these visitors are regulars, prompting Johnson to give them adorable names like Flash, Merlin and Squeaky McGee. Johnson says that majority of the hummingbird species that come are Annas, Rufous, Allens, Calliope, Black Chinned, and the occasional hybrid.
For photographic neophytes, Johnson gives tips on how she is able to capture these extraordinary pictures of these quick-winged birds:
I use a Nikon D610 camera and a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens. Hummingbirds can be difficult to photograph because they move so quickly. My tips for you are the following: be patient. Hummingbirds are creatures of habit: if you see a bird land on a particular branch, hang out for a few minutes and see if he lands there again. If it's a good perch he will be back. If you see him land there a couple of times over a half an hour or so: get your camera out and stand close by. The goal isn't to get all up in the birds face (this is why you need a zoom lens) stand near a tree and try to blend. It takes time to get photos of them. I will sometimes stand near a perch for 30-40 minutes and not get one shot. If you do get some photos: over half of them will likely be blurry. It's just how it goes!
Johnson's love and passion for her fine-feathered friends shines through her words and her images, sharing their delicate beauty and grace with those of us who might not be so skilled at getting up close and personal. For more amazing photos, check out Tracy Johnson's Instagram and website.