Hummingbird Photo Shoot

Male Allen’s Hummingbird Takes Flight From A Branch

UCSC Arboretum Meet-Up

Want to take beautiful Hummingbird images? Come with me to the University of California at Santa Cruz Arboretum and I will teach you how to make beautiful hummingbird images. The images on this page were created last year; the Arboretum is alive with activity now.

Every year Allen’s Hummingbirds come up from the Coast of Mexico and extreme Southern California to our coastal land in Northern California to bred and mate.  They join the native Anna’s Hummingbirds who they compete with, and actually dominate. The UCSC Arboretum with its South African and Australian gardens, especially the grevillea and banksia plants, provide 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. Bring on the clouds and diffused light that I love, as well as the magic of low angled sunlight. Flash is important to illuminate the wonderful colors of these jewels of the skies especially for bring out the male’s gorget.

Right now before daylight savings is upon us, the afternoon light between 4:00 PM and 5:00 PM closing time is best. So I am offering afternoon meetups during this period… they will start at 1:00 PM and end at 5:00 PM, which is the closing time of the Arboretum.

After, daylight saving begins on the second week of March, then, morning times provide the best light, so we will start at 9:00 AM and run to 1:00 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 Ready For Flight
Male Allen’s Hummingbird Ready For Flight
Male Allen's Hummingbird Sticks Out Long White Tongue
Male Allen’s Hummingbird Sticks Out Long White Tongue
Male Anna's Hummingbird Hovers Near Nectar
F Male Anna’s Hummingbird Hovers Near Nectar

Equipment requirements:

300 mm telephoto lens is a minimum requirement, larger magnification zooms lenses are preferable if you don’t have a 400, 500, or 600 mm straight prime lens. Also, a Tripod with a good ball head or gimbel type head like a Wimberley is a must if you want more than just perched or blurry flight images. Although, it is possible to get feeding images just hand holding your camera, if you are careful with your technique.


1.4 Tele-converter, 12mm or 25mm Extension Tubes, Cable Release, External Flash, Better Beamer, External Battery Pack, like a Quantum Unit.

Right now, I am using two camera bodies, one with my 400 mm IS DO lens hand holding for feeding images, and my 600 mm lens for hummingbirds on perch.

Please bring a folding chair as sometimes we will be sitting to photograph the hummingbirds as well as taking a brief rest from standing. Also, a hat that provides shade for your face and you can use to photograph with as well as sunscreen are advisable.

The cost is $75.00 per session.

The $5.00 UCSC Arboretum entrance and parking fee is not included.

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 place, because space is limited to six photographers per event.

Male Allen’s Hummingbird Does Tail and Wing Stretch On Cape Heat


Friday, February 27, 2015
(1:00 PM Start Time)
Full at this time

Buy Now Button

Monday, March 2, 2015
(1:00 PM Start Time)
Full at this time

Buy Now Button

Thursday, March 5, 2015
(1:00 PM Start Time)

Buy Now Button

Sunday, March 15, 2015
(9:00 AM Start Time)
New Date

Buy Now Button
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
(9:00 AM Start Time)

Buy Now Button

Friday , March 20, 2015
(9:00 AM Start Time)

Buy Now Button


I have opened another morning shoot on Sunday, March 15, 2015. If you are still interested in an hummingbird photo shoot, you can sign up for March 15, 18, and 20th dates, above.

UCSC Arboretum Address: 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064
(West Entrance)
Map of Arboretum:

Meeting Place: Parking lot in front of the Horticultural Center II


Male Allen's Hummingbird Preens Under Wing
Male Allen’s Hummingbird Preens Under Wing

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.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s