Hummingbird Photo Shoot

UCSC Arboretum Meet-Up

One on One With Bruce And The UCSC Arboretum Hummingbirds

This year I will offer one and one hummingbird photoshoots for individuals, and couples, or friends at the UCSC Arboretum. Limiting each photoshoot to one or two individuals maximum will allow me to give greater personal instruction and have less pressure on the hummingbirds. This will mean better photo opportunities since the male hummingbirds will feel safer and stay on their perches longer while guarding their small territories of nectar-producing flowers.

Want to take beautiful Hummingbird images? Come with me to the University of California at Santa Cruz’s Arboretum and I will teach you how to make beautiful hummingbird images. The Arboretum is alive with activity now.

I have already photographed at the Arboretum this year and have extensive knowledge of where the best locations are for creating compelling imagery.

Every year Allen’s Hummingbirds come up from the Coast of Mexico and extreme Southern California to our coastal land in Northern California to breed and mate. They join the native Anna’s Hummingbirds, who they compete with and dominate. The UCSC Arboretum with its South African and Australian gardens, especially the grevillea, banksia, and erica plants, provides a constant source of nectar for these jewels of the sky.

I will share my techniques and field observations with you, providing personal instruction. We will discuss flash, and how I use fill flash in particular to soften normal bright sunlight. Flash is important to illuminate the wonderful colors of these jewels of the skies especially to bring out the male’s gorget. 

After, daylight saving begins in the second week of March morning times provide the best light, so we will start at 9:00 AM and run to 1:30 PM in the afternoon. 

There are different areas within the gardens that I normally shoot at, but each year is different and will depend on the hummingbirds, but as in all wildlife photography conditions and opportunities can change.

Male Allen’s Hummingbird Takes Flight From A Dry Cape Heath Branch

Equipment requirements:

300 mm telephoto lens is a minimum requirement, larger magnification zoom lenses (as examples, 100 – 400 mm or 90-600 mm zoom lenses) are adequate if you don’t have a preferable 400, 500, or 600 mm straight prime lens. Another option is to rent a prime lens at

For large prime lenses, a tripod with a good ball head or gimbal type head like a Wimberley is a must if you want more than just blurry perched and flight images. It is possible to get feeding images just by hand-holding your camera and smaller lens if you are careful with your technique and the light is good. 


1.4 Teleconverter, 12mm or 25mm Extension Tubes, Cable Release, External Flash, Better Beamer, External Battery Pack, like a Quantum Unit. (optional) I use Fill-flash, especially on sunny days. Bring your flash unit if you have one. You’ll need to set the high-speed sync setting. I know how to do this on Canon flashes, and for Nikon flashes, you need to set the high-speed sync in the camera under the FP setting. Flashes for other manufactures please consult your manual if you don’t know how to set the high-speed sync function. 

As stated above, sometimes, I use two camera bodies, one with my 400 mm IS DO lens hand-holding for feeding images and my 600 mm lens for hummingbirds on a perch.

A hat that provides shade for your face, especially on bright warm sunny days. I normally use a standard baseball cap to photograph with. Sunscreen is advisable if you have fair skin. Always dress in layers and wear good walking shoes. A small folding chair (optional) is helpful for taking a rest because we will do a lot of standing. There are several benches throughout the Arboretum if you need to rest and get off your feet, and don’t have a chair. 

The cost is $119.00 per session for individuals and $218.00 for couples or friends. The couple’s price is discounted by $20.00.

The $5.00 UCSC Arboretum admission fee is not included, and payable at Norrie’s Gift and Garden Shop.

If you have any questions, you can e-mail me at or call my cell phone at 650-339-2555.

I look forward to sharing my passion and knowledge of capturing these beautiful special birds of the Americas. Sign up below to reserve your spot, dates are limited. If unable to go on these dates, please call or email me, I might find another date to accommodate your schedule. Rain will cancel the event, postponing to another day, or a full refund will be available. 


Sunday, March 28, 2021
Monday, March 29, 2021
Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Make your payment with PayPal to, when you are directed to the “Buy Now” button below. I will accept personal checks on a case-by-case basis. Please contact me. Also, please place the date in the PayPal note field so I will know which date you want to attend. Thank you. 


Two Friends Or Couples:


UCSC Arboretum Address: 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064

(West Entrance)
UCSC Arboretum Map 

Meeting Place: We will begin shooting at the small handicap parking lot in front of the South African gardens–the Erica flower beds. The Arboretum has a large new parking lot in the back of these gardens for visitors. Please park there, we will meet at the entrance of this parking area before heading to the South Africa gardens. 

Questions or concerns, please email me at or phone at 650-339-2555. 


2 thoughts on “Hummingbird Photo Shoot”

  1. Hi, I was at the arboretum yesterday. Please post some of the images that you took of the bird perching at the Erica garden.


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