Meet Tracy Johnson, a musician and self-professed "bird paparazzi" who uses her iPhone 6 to take stunning pictures of hummingbirds. Her work captures the birds' tiny feathers and luminescent colors in incredible detail—and media outlets including Design Taxi, Bored Panda, and the Weather Channel have all taken notice of her incredible Instagram feed.
Two years ago, the Livermore, California-based singer/songwriter began experiencing autoimmune health issues. Unable to play the guitar or sing, Johnson needed to find herself a new creative outlet.
Johnson was already dabbling in landscape photography, but when she purchased a new zoom lens and took a close-up shot of a male Annas hummingbird, “I realized that there was an entire rainbow of feathers in there,” Johnson wrote in an email to mental_floss. "Once I saw those details I began to realize that all of the birds had very unique feathers and personalities … It's not often that you are able to see a hummingbird so up close, so I decided that I wanted to share what I saw with other people.”
Inspired, Johnson started capturing the tiny birds with her iPhone camera and zoom lens, and posted them on her Instagram feed. Today, her account has more than 40,000 followers. Johnson also takes still shots of hummingbirds with a Nikon D610 and a zoom lens, as well as iPhone videos for YouTube.
Johnson spends about half an hour to an hour each day in her backyard, “just sitting still and being very quiet and watching the birds."
"Sometimes I bring my Kindle out and just sit and read," Johnson wrote. "Hummingbirds are creatures of habit; they have their favorite tree branches. So if you pay close attention, you can see where the favorite perches are."
That patience pays off: "I've had hummingbirds land on my hands, my hair, my arms, one even landed on my foot and then promptly decided to try to drink nectar from the flower that was painted on my toe," she wrote.
Check out some of Johnson’s pictures below, or visit her Instagram to admire more of her work.
[h/t Bored Panda]
All images courtesy of Tracy Johnson.