In the summer of 2020, Stan Maupin had some free time. Like most of us, he spent his days at home instead of in the office and decided to try his hand at photography. Inspired by the hummingbirds that frequented his garden, he began learning more about his DSLR. But it was a challenge from his son that would push him to his creative limits.
After Maupin’s son read an article about the work of photographer and videographer Christian Spencer, he challenged him to take similar photos. Spencer’s hummingbird images, which allow the sun to shine through their wings and create a rainbow effect, were quite difficult to achieve. As summer drew to a close and hummingbird season drew to a close, Maupin was able to get out in his garden and give it a try.
“I went to the chair, speculated wildly about the settings, raised the camera as a lobster approached the feeder, looked into the lens and fired,” he tells My Modern Met I did over the next hour, I saw one with the tiniest hint of color coming through the bird’s wings. I didn’t know that night, but I was hooked.”
Since hummingbird season lasts only two months in Maupin’s area, it would be another 10 months before he got another chance to replicate Spencer’s work. Throughout that year, Maupin worked to improve his photographic skills and master the technical aspects crucial to this type of shot.
Unfortunately the following summer the weather was a problem. Clear skies are crucial for this type of photography and the weather just wasn’t cooperating. While this was disappointing, it allowed Maupin to improve on the non-technical aspects of the photoshoot. This included building a custom bird feeder that stood on a tripod and making a styrofoam screen to keep its lens from getting fried by the sun. When the summer of 2022 rolled around, Maupin was ready.
The results of his work are incredible, his time and dedication are clearly paying off. Throughout the series, we clearly see a beautiful rainbow in the wings of the hummingbirds. Sharp and clear, the photos are a triumph over a difficult challenge. His achievement is a beautiful look at how anyone can pick up a camera and create something special if they’re only willing to push themselves.
“I can’t hope to add much to Christian Spencer’s photos, but I feel like I can say that you don’t have to have the unique talent and dedication of a world-renowned artist/photographer/naturalist to create images that you may be proud and others will enjoy,” shares Maupin.
“I hope this helps others to exceed their expectations,” he continues. “I have been inspired to expand even my most optimistic hopes of what I could achieve in photography, and I have continued to tackle projects that challenge me technically, physically and artistically.”
As for Maupin, he continues his photographic journey, recently winning third place in the Washington Post’s travel photo contest with an image of the Milky Way taken on a deserted beach.
In the summer of 2020, Stan Maupin began photographing hummingbirds in his garden.
His son introduced him to the work of Christian Spencer photographing the sun creating rainbows in hummingbird wings.
The challenge from there was to see if he could produce similar work.
After three summers of honing his technical skills, Maupin achieved his goal.