These birds have enabled a photographer to spread her wings.
Tracy Johnson, 41, takes dazzlingly detailed photos of hummingbirds. It’s a project she credits with helping her find her purpose.
Johnson, who lives in Livermore, California, used to do landscape photography and play the piano and guitar. But a year and a half ago she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that causes severe muscle weakness.
I’m like the hummingbird paparazzi, jumping out of bushes to take their photos. Tracy Johnson
The condition wouldn’t allow her to play instruments anymore or trek out to vineyards in order to capture photos of moonlit night skies.
“One day I was siting in my backyard, feeling sorry for myself and all of a sudden a hummingbird flew by,” she told The Huffington Post. “And I was like, ‘Bingo! I’m going to take your picture, sir.’”
She got out her DSLR camera, zoomed in on the bird and was surprised to find it had radiant rainbow-like feathers.
Yet, capturing a sharp, detailed photo of a quick-moving hummingbird was no small feat. Johnson told HuffPost she took “about 500” photos until she finally got one that wasn’t blurry. Once she had a few solid photos, she showed them to her friends who suggested she start an Instagram page for her photography.
And just like that, her creativity began to soar.
“After that, I was stalking the poor hummingbirds all the time,” she said. “I’m like the hummingbird paparazzi, jumping out of bushes to take their photos.”
After a little over a year of snapping the swift little birds and posting the pictures to Instagram, she now has over 65,000 followers.
And the birds are completely comfortable with her.
“They land on my head, they land on my foot, they land on my hand,” Johnson said.
She’s so well acquainted with the birds, that she can even recognize their “tweets.”
“We’ve got one bird in the backyard who basically sounds like he’s mooing or honking at the other birds,” Johnson told HuffPost. “Now I can walk back there and pinpoint which one he is from far away just by his sound.”
The self-described “crazy bird lady” even gives the hummingbirds names like Luke, Flash, Morgan and Merlin.
“I called one Merlin because his wings sounded very sparkly,” she said. “He sounded like a magician.”
And just like Merlin, Johnson’s photos are totally magical.