Hummingbirds of Ecuador

In early May of 2016, I had the good fortune to travel to Quito, Ecuador with friend Bob Karcz to photograph unique and colorful hummingbirds. Ecuador is known for over 130 species of hummingbirds. But to capture their glitter, glow and color is a huge challenge.

This challenge was met by the expertise of my friend, fellow photographer and workshop guide Matt Shetzer through the use of flash photography. Matt traveled with 14 flash units, 7 for each of 2 workstations. Each work station consisted of a natural, local flower, a special background and 7 flash units – 5 on the flower (and subsequently the hummer) and 2 on the background. When the hummer arrives at the flower all 7 flashes are triggered by the photographer with a remote release. The hummer image captured has extraordinary color, sharpness and contrast that is beyond anything that I have ever seen in natural light.

Now some may say that this is artificial and contrived. But I say the colors and beauty speak for themselves.

Male Booted Racket-tail - Male Booted Racket-tail hummingbird with wings and split tail spread hovers at a flower.

Male Booted Racket-tail


Fighting For The Flower - Two male Booted Racket-tail hummingbirds (you can see their little booties on their feet, and their racket-like twin tails) take aggressive positions (face-off, twin tails spread out) over who gets to the flower first.

Fighting For The Flower – Booted Racket-Tail hummingbirds spread their tails when in a defensive or aggressive situation.


Velvet-Purple Coronet - A Velvet-Purple Coronet hummingbird feeds on the nectar in a flower.

Velvet-Purple Coronet Feeding


Violet-Tailed Sylph InFlight - A male Violet-tailed Sylph hummingbird is about to extract nectar from a flower.

Violet-Tailed Sylph In Flight



Matt Setting Up the Flash Stations



Bob Karcz Aligning the Shot



Two Flash Stations Ready To Go



Rich Making The Settings

To see more of my spectacular images of hummingbirds click:


View a video of the Booted Racket-tail being attacked by other hummingbirds. Watch for the flash of the gorget. Watch for the defensive/aggressive tail spreading behavior when the hummer is challenged or attacked by another hummer. Part of the video clip is in slow motion.

Booted Racket-Tail Hummingbird Attacked Video


~ by richardseeley on June 24, 2016.

2 Responses to “Hummingbirds of Ecuador”

  1. Beautiful! I like the first one best: the colors and the graceful composition.

    How is the fam? How is Cheri doing? The baby must be almost here!

    Al, Casey and the 3 kids (and dog) will be here this Wed. Hooray! We’ll go to Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mts for a few days. Next year I hope we can all go to Yosemite.

    Have a great summer!

    Doris >


  2. Très jolies photos. Les couleurs sont magnifiques. Nous aimons beaucoup aussi la première. Le colibri est majestueux. Nous pensons beaucoup à Chéri et espérons que tout va bien.


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