fbpixel

Hummingbird Photography Workshop

Ecuador, South America

Violet-tailed-sylph by Greg Downing

During a new hummingbird photography workshop, visit the cloud forests of Ecuador in search of hummingbirds, tanagers, barbets, toucanets, and more. You will learn hands-on, with Greg teaching you multi-flash photography techniques, lighting effects, and how to capture stunning action shots of these tiny jewels in flight.

Explore a Tropical Paradise with Birds Galore on a Hummingbird Photography Workshop

Greg is a pioneer in multi-flash hummingbird photography and has been teaching his techniques for over 15 years. During this hummingbird photography workshop, Greg will share his personal tips and methods for capturing these tiny jewels in flight and action, all while making your shots look completely natural.

Multi-Flash Setups Provided

Everything you need for multiple-flash hummingbird setups will be provided—all you need to bring is a camera and lens! Since our setups will work with any camera brand, there is no concern about compatibility as long as you have a camera with a standard flash hot shoe. Camera lenses of 100–400 or 70–200 range are optimal for the setups, while longer lenses are recommended for perched hummingbirds, tanagers, and other bird species.

What You Will Learn

  • Master multi-flash photographic techniques.
  • Learn how to use outdoor fill flash as supplemental lighting for bird photography.
  • Manipulate scene lighting to achieve the exact effect you want, creating important shadowing and backlighting.
  • Fine-tune your bird photography skills by photographing a variety of tropical bird species.
  • While there aren’t any formal classroom sessions on this bird photography workshop, Greg will work with you one-on-one or as a group on post processing techniques in Photoshop® and Lightroom.
“I have been a photographer for over 50 years. I never want to stop learning, and this workshop was a great learning opportunity. Multi-flash technique is an amazing way to freeze even the fastest hummingbird motion. Greg is a great instructor who made this technique come alive. I highly recommend this workshop.” –Marc B.

Trip Highlights

  • Greg will be joined by a full-time Ecuadorian birding guide, assisting with setups and helping to locate species and identify them.
  • Visit one of Greg’s secret locations teaming with tanagers and other passerines posing on perches, plus a special species of hummingbird you won’t see anywhere else!
  • Return home with new bird photography skills, particularly using fill flash, that you can put into practice anywhere.
  • Create a vibrant portfolio in a tropical setting with tons of images of different hummingbirds, tanagers, barbets, and more.

Velvet-purple coronet pink flower by Greg Downing

Possible Bird Species to Photograph

  • Andean cock-of-the-rock
  • Black-capped tanager
  • Black-striped sparrow
  • Blue-gray tanager
  • Blue-winged mountain tanager
  • Booted racket-tail
  • Buff-breasted tanager
  • Chestnut-breasted coronet
  • Crimson-rumped toucanet
  • Dusky bush-tanager
  • Ecuadorian thrush
  • Glowing pufflegs
  • Gray-breasted mountain toucan
  • Golden-breasted pufflegs
  • Golden-naped tanager
  • Hooden-mountain tanager
  • Lemon-rumped tanager
  • Long-tailed sylph
  • Masked flowerpiercer
  • Mountain velvetbreast
  • Purple-throated woodstar
  • Red-headed barbet
  • Rufous-collared sparrow
  • Rufous motmot
  • Sword-billed hummingbird
  • Toucan barbet
  • Tourmaline sunangel
  • Turquoise jay
  • Velvet-purple coronet
  • Violet-tailed sylph
  • Western emerald
  • and more!

Flame-faced tanager by Greg Downing

Itinerary

Day 1, September 4, 2018
Arrival in Quito, Ecuador

On day 1 you will meet our representatives at Mariscal Sucre International Airport and transfer to your comfortable hotel 20 minutes from the airport. The hotel is very nicely appointed with a pool, two restaurants, room service, and lovely grounds with abundant birdlife.

Arrival times for travelers will vary; no meals are included this day but there is room service and a restaurant at the hotel.

If you wish to arrive a day or two early to relax before the trip or do a city tour we can make those arrangements.

Hotel not listed; no meals included.

Day 2, September 5, 2018
Fundamentals of Using Flash

After an early breakfast your group will travel less than 1 hour to Guango Lodge where you’ll spend the next 2 nights.

Greg will give a brief orientation of the schedule and the lodge, and then we’ll dig right into our gear and start photographing! On this day we’ll be focused on key settings and the fundamentals of using flash as a supplemental lighting source. This will help you capture magnificent and sharp images of hummingbirds in the cloud forest that look natural.

Over the next few days of this hummingbird photography workshop, you will have plenty of time to fine-tune these skills and put everything to practice. This is Greg’s expertise and you will get lots of individual attention based on your specific needs. If you don’t need a lot of personal instruction then you can work at your own pace!

Guango Lodge (B, L, D)

Day 3, September 6, 2018
Multi-flash Setups for Hummingbirds and Other Species

After breakfast we will begin to use the multi-flash setups looking for noteworthy species like chestnut-breasted coronet, mountain velvetbreast, sword-billed hummingbird, tourmaline sunangel, golden-breasted and glowing pufflegs, long-tailed sylph, and others.

When not photographing hummingbirds we’ll keep an eye out for some of the lodge’s regular bird species including but not limited to: gray-breasted mountain-toucan, turquoise jay, buff-breasted and hooded-mountain tanagers, and more. Beautiful masked flowerpiercers are also very common, visiting the hummingbird feeders regularly right outside the lodge’s front door. We’ll also continue to focus on capturing perched hummingbirds with natural light as well as learning about the use of supplemental fill flash.

We’ll have a mid-day break for lunch and, since we’re right there at the lodge, you can download and review images throughout the day at you leisure.

After a full day of shooting we’ll enjoy dinner together at the lodge.

Guango Lodge (B, L, D)

Buff-tailed coronet by Greg Downing

Day 4, September 7, 2018
Tandayapa Lodge for Hummingbird Photography

After breakfast, we’ll take some time to get a few final shots around the lodge before making our way to Tandayapa Lodge which will be our base for the next five nights, with flexible visits to other locations nearby that are productive for different species.

You will not feel rushed from Guango having almost two full days there. Guango only has a handful of species to photograph but they are species we will not see elsewhere. Tandayapa and the surrounding area offer so much more that we will focus most of our time there.

A mecca for birders and photographers alike, Tandayapa Lodge is one of the best birding locales in the world, particularly for hummingbird photography. Nestled in the cloud forest, up to 31 species of hummingbirds have been recorded at the lodge feeders. With 14–18 species most days and up to 100 individual hummingbirds present at any moment, this is one of the must-see bird spectacles of the world.

Tandayapa Lodge (B, L, D)

Day 5 September 8, 2018
Multi-flash Setups, Hummingbirds, and Other Species

For the next few days there will be a bit of flexibility between hummingbird photography at the lodge’s multi-flash setups and other areas for different species of hummingbirds to mix things up. We recently connected with two places that are fantastic for tanagers and other passerines.

The first full day will start with breakfast and then you will immediately begin photographing hummingbirds at multi-flash setups right on the lodge grounds. We have reserved the space to do this exclusively for our group and have lots of room for our setups. Here, we are offered a different set of hummingbird species from Guango including western emerald, purple-throated woodstar, violet-tailed sylph, booted racket-tail, and many more.

We’ll have a break for lunch at the lodge and will continue with hummingbirds and other birds until it’s time for dinner at the lodge.

Tandayapa Lodge (B, L, D)

Day 6 September 9, 2018
Tandayapa Lodge for Bird Photography

Today you will spend the whole day again at Tandayapa capturing images of hummingbirds and other species. We will have the opportunity to go for a birding walk in between our setup time in search of the andean cock-of-the-rock and other endemics.

There are also opportunities to photograph other species at the lodge’s fruit feeder such as the spectacular Rufous motmot, black-capped tanager, red-headed barbet, blue-winged mountain tanager, and others. After another full day of shooting we’ll enjoy dinner at the lodge.

Andean emerald by Greg Downing

Day 7 September 10, 2018
It’s Raining Birds! Visit to Local Fruit Feeders

Today you will visit a local family that has set up fruit feeders in their yard; it’s become a sensation among bird photographers and is extremely productive! We have been there when it’s “raining” birds! Some of the possible species here include black-capped tanager, blue-gray tanager, dusky bush-tanager, Ecuadorian thrush, black-striped sparrow, rufous-collared sparrow, golden-naped tanager, crimson-rumped toucanet, red-headed barbet, toucan barbet, and lemon-rumped tanager.

You will get to spend hours here shooting the constant stream of tanagers and other species that visit. We will have a traditional lunch at a local restaurant with a beautiful view of the valley and Rio Blanco.

Day 8, September 11, 2018
Greg’s Secret Location

After breakfast we will travel to another special place. This is a location Greg discovered more than 15 years ago and it has remained very small and rarely, if ever, visited during other photographic itineraries to Ecuador. Another new feature of this location is a very productive fruit feeder where we can expect to see more tanagers, toucanets, and various other species. We will have a traditional Ecuadorian lunch on location and return to Tandayapa at our leisure.

One species to note here, which we will see nowhere else, is the beautiful and iridescent velvet-purple coronet. Long-tailed sylph has also been known to be very cooperative here.

Tandayapa Lodge (B, L), Rincón de Puembo (D)

Day 9, September 12, 2018
Local Bird Photography at Tandayapa Lodge

Today we will take our final shots of the local birds around Tandayapa Lodge and then head to Quito in time for a farewell dinner and reflection on our hummingbird photography workshop.

Red-headed barbet by Greg Downing

Day 10, September 13, 2018
Departure from Quito, Ecuador

On this day take a private transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Breakfast is included for those departing Ecuador late enough.

Includes

  • All accommodations
  • All meals as indicated above
  • All ground transportation
  • Full-time professional local birding guide
  • All airport transfers
  • Entrance fees to all reserves
  • All photo instruction
  • Use of multi-flash setups

Does Not Include

  • Airfare to Mariscal Sucre International Airport
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Travel insurance (recommended)
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Gratuities for birding guide (at your discretion)
  • Non-mealtime snacks, soft drinks, or bottled water
  • Souvenirs

Hummingbird in hand, Ecuador by Greg Downing

If you would like to register for this workshop, please fill out the registration form. A non-refundable deposit (listed above) is required to reserve your spot. Please refer to our workshop information section for our cancellation and refund policies.

Workshop Information
  • Dates: Sep. 4-13, 2018 (7 openings)
  • Cost: $4,995
  • Deposit: $1,000
  • Participants: 8
Single Supplement: $375
Non-photographer Discount: −$500
The single supplement fee reflects our actual cost and is subject to availability. If you are a single traveler and we are unable to place you with a roommate, you will be placed in a single room and charged the single supplement fee.
Leader

Greg Downing

Greg Downing

Greg has been traveling the world teaching professional and amateur photographers for more than 15 years hosting his instructional workshops and seminars. Instructing photographers of all experience levels Greg has earned a reputation for his gracious and generous teaching style.

Greg’s images are known for their unique style, exacting composition and strict attention to detail. Continue reading »

Testimonials
Gloria and I really enjoyed the experience. Although she is a non photographer, the leaders and guides went our of their way to make her feel like a part of the group.
John J.
Hummingbirds and More - Ecuador
I have been a photographer for over 50 years. I never want to stop learning, and this workshop was a great learning opportunity. Multi-flash technique is an amazing way to freeze even the fastest hummingbird motion. Greg is a great instructor who made this technique come alive. I highly recommend this workshop.
Marc B.
Hummingbirds and More - Ecuador