Singer/songwriter Tracy Johnson has been a musician for many years, but she also has a special hobby – she photographs hummingbirds.
She has been building up a solid fandom on Instagram with her photos of these jewel-like little creatures. She also has a YouTube channel. The videos of her handfeeding them are especially popular, sometimes getting hundreds of thousands of hits.
Johnson, who lives in Livermore, California, spends a good half an hour every morning on her hobby, putting out several feeders full of sugar water to attract the birds.
She has become so familiar with her tiny visitors that she has taken to naming them.
She also often comments affectionately on their daily activities, disputes, and personalities, as well as her artistic influences in how she photographs them.
In addition to her own social media, she writes articles on related sites like Birds and Blooms, giving advice on how to handfeed and photograph hummingbirds.
One of her most frequent techniques is to hold feeders out for the birds to feed, then take a photo when they come to it. This requires much patience and gaining of the birds' trust by standing still and regularly visiting the feeders, increasing their familiarity with her.
Johnson also suggests learning the birds' habits and when or how they might approach a feeder.
Johnson says that photographing such fast, small and shy birds can be very difficult. She may get only 15 clear shots out of 100.
But it is worth it for the quality of the shots that she does get.
Several different West Coast species visit her feeders, including Rufous, Calliopes, Annas, Black-Chinned, Allens, and even hybrids. These make for a very colorful daily flock.