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Tips and techniques for taking photos of hummingbirds

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird feeds at orange impatiens in the author’s hummingbird garden. Photo by William Jobes

The mid-summer sunrise splashed golden light waves across the patio, enveloping my already keenly attuned senses, in anticipation of the arrival of the morning’s first hummingbird. My modest home-crafted elevated brick garden was lush with tropical florals; the camera was tripod-mounted and aimed at a bright red shrimp plant blossom as I settled into a well-worn canvas camp chair. A fresh cup of coffee rested at the ready on a small side table.

Within moments, I heard the faint hypersonic whirring of an approaching Ruby-throated Hummingbird as it hovered a few feet away, seeming to be studying me before approaching the flowers. A fun add-on benefit of frequent hummingbird home photography is the way the birds become accustomed to you — at times almost friendly as they fearlessly hover near you.

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William Jobes

William Jobes

William Jobes is a print and broadcast journalist from Langhorne, Pennsylvania, whose experience includes news and sports photojournalism, as well as reporting and editing on staff at several major daily newspapers. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Star, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and USA Today, among others.  He is the recipient of numerous journalism and photography awards and honors, including several Emmys. He has written several articles for BirdWatching, including Hotspots Near You in Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

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