"It's probably safe to say that all wildlife photographers have dream subjects in mind, animals that top their 'most wanted' list. For me that included the hummingbirds.

Fortunately the company I work for as a wildlife and photography guide, Tropical Birding Tours, runs a comfortable lodge in north-west Ecuador that is widely considered to be the best spot on the planet for hummingbirds. It wasn't a tough decision to pack a bag and spend last winter at Tandayapa Bird Lodge, camera in hand, trying to do the jewels of the Andes some justice.
Hummingbirds beat their wings at up to 80 times per second, making freezing their motion a significant challenge. A tried and tested method though is the multi-flash technique, which typically involves 4 or 5 flashes and a flash-lit background. The idea is to create an entirely dark exposure and use extremely short bursts of flash as the only source of light, typically freezing motion at around 1/20,000th of a second. Fortunately Nikon's flash system makes this technique effortless. My go-to gear for this type of image is a D7100 set at 1/160th, ISO 200 and f/13, with my NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8 and an SB-900 triggering 3 or 4 slave flashes.

It's impossible to escape 'selfie culture' right now. I've always taken a 'selfie' or two with tame wildlife, but this time I wanted to take it a step further, so after days of multi-flash shooting I decided it was time for me to try and get in the frame as well. The birds were coming to a flower to feed from sugar water, so I grabbed my ML-L3 remote trigger, bumped the aperture to f/16 and ISO to 360 to account for my face, and entered the frame with a fallen flower held between my lips. After a while of waiting, this female purple-throated Woodstar was the first bird to approach."

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