From the garden of his hotel, Jan noticed that when the hummingbirds rotated around this plant’s spikes, and closed their tails for a moment, a beautiful cross appeared. From the low position of his wheelchair, it took him two half days to get the perfect shot, ‘their fast movements to me symbolise the freedom of our imagination,’ he says.
Endemic to Peru, the bearded mountaineer hummingbird spends its day feeding on sweet, nectar-rich plants. Unlike the hummingbird, the showy, dramatic torch lily seen here is not native to the region, but has become a popular food source for these hummingbirds. They are attracted by the delicious nectar of its bright red flowers.
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II + 500mm f4 lens; 1.4x III extender; 1/5000 sec at f5.6; ISO 4000; Gitzo tripod + Jobu gimbal head
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Jan van der Greef, The Netherlands
Jan is Professor Emeritus of Analytical Biosciences at Leiden University and internationally recognised as a pioneer in systems biology in life sciences. He has received numerous international prestigious awards for both his scientific and nature photography. He is a founding member of the Alliance for Nature.