At high altitudes, where there are few insect pollinators, orchids invite the services of hummingbirds with offers of nectar. This Eleanthus orchid, in a cloud forest in western Panama, was on the flower-patrol route of a male magnificent hummingbird, which would pass by every 40 minutes or so to check for freshly open florets. Whenever he dipped his beak in for a drink, a purple pollen package would stick to it, and he would inadvertently deliver this to the next orchid he visited. Christian captured the act in intimate detail by using a custom-made wide-angle macro lens, choosing an orchid that he could set up his camera next to and watching for two weeks, poised with cable-release in hand.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II + 17mm f2.8 lens; 1/60 sec; ISO 400; 6 flashes; remote trigger; tripod.
Cerro Punta, Chiriquí, Panama
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Christian Ziegler, Germany
Christian is a photojournalist specialising in topics related to natural history and science. A tropical ecologist by training, he has spent the past 12 years as an associate in communication with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. He is a Founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers.