Black-Chinned Hummingbird at Wallflower Petunia | Beebower Productions

How did Hugh get all of those colorful little hummingbirds to show up for their photo sessions?

He set up an irresistible banquet. Attracting hummingbirds is pretty simple.  They need four things:  nectar, protein, water and shelter.  Luckily for Hugh his daughter Denise, at one point, lived in southeastern Arizona, the hummingbird capital of America.  She also happened to be a gardener with a yard full of flowers for hummingbirds and plenty of hummingbird feeders.  The flowers contain the nectar hummingbirds love.  They also attract bugs the birds can use for food.

Denise had a nice shallow pool of water with a mister attached that created the perfect spot for drinks and baths.  Trees and bushes throughout the garden provided perching spots for the territorial little hummers.  As a result Denise had 13 different types of hummingbirds in her garden throughout the year.

All Hugh had to do was pick a high-traffic spot and set up his bank of flashes and camera gear the day before the shoot.  This allowed the hummingbirds to get used to the new objects around their favorite flowers or feeders.

The day of the shoot

Hugh donned camouflage and waited and waited.  Eventually he had a regular group of hummingbirds zipping in and out.  Hugh soon had a plethora of hummingbird photographs to add to his portfolio.

You can make your own backyard hummingbird photography station too.  Visit native plant nurseries and check with your local County Agricultural Extension agent to find out what flowers for hummingbirds grow best in your area.  Investigate what native wildflowers blanket your part of the world.

The Secret Recipe

Making your own food for hummingbirds is easy and you do not need to add red dye.  Simply mix 1 cup of white sugar and 4 cups of hot water in a container.  Be sure to stir until all of the sugar has dissolved and then fill up your favorite hummingbird feeders.  You can store the remaining juice in the refrigerator for two weeks.

Denise’s garden provided all the essentials to lure the glittering jewels of the garden in time after time.  Hugh seized the moment to capture this image of a black-chinned hummingbird after he visited an autumn sage (Salvia greggii).  He shot this hummingbird image with a Cannon EOS 1 D Mark IV, 400mm/f2.8 lens.

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