SHUTTER BUG MAGIC

Birds & Blooms|June/July 2020

SHUTTER BUG MAGIC
Four readers share their tips for spectacular hummingbird photos.
JILL STAAKE

Elijah Gildea

REDDING, CALIFORNIA

Equipment: Nikon D850, Nikon 200-500 lens

In 2006, Elijah spotted a pair of bald eagles— the first he’d seen in his life. He was so excited that he went out the next day and purchased a new camera. Soon he was photographing rufous hummingbirds nearby, then traveling to find even more species. “I am always in pursuit of capturing incredible or beautiful hummingbird moments,” he says.

“Hummingbirds initially caught my eye because of their iridescent colors, and they have kept my interest because of their incredible variety,” Elijah says. His hobby is now a parttime job. He shoots professionally for Perky-Pet bird feeders and leads tours in Costa Rica, while teaching local photography workshops.

In his own backyard, Elijah regularly welcomes six species. “I live on the outskirts of town, which is apparently a great location for hummingbirds,” he says. “I have 12 large hummingbird feeders up and spend my mornings drinking coffee, cleaning and refilling feeders, and watching the dozens of hummingbirds.” And his camera is always nearby, no doubt!

Bill Friggle

DENVER, PENNSYLVANIA

Equipment: Nikon D600, Nikon 200-500 lens

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June/July 2020