Helping to develop many popular photo attractions in Costa Rica has been a rewarding aspect of running the company Foto Verde Tours. This case depicts a great payoff from a little bit of luck in setting up a hummingbird photography area at one of our favorite lodges. We provided guidance in putting out feeders just inside its private rainforest reserve and designed a simple, open pavilion structure. Everything seemed perfect, but there was one problem — the hummingbirds never responded very well to the feeders! But photography sometimes imitates life: When a door closes, a window opens.
That held true for our failed hummingbird photography area, where I was leading a workshop about five years ago. My good friend Diego, the lodge employee who takes care of the feeders, mentioned that the feeders would be full in the evening but always empty in the morning. I knew right away from personal experience what that meant: nectar-feeding bats were the lodge’s thiefs in the night. I was able to verify this on the same occasion with a simple photography setup after dark, and my workshop clients loved it. Since then, I have refined my technique for a photo shoot of bats in this setting as follows.