One of my new recent favorites! Today, I took the kids hiking through the hills in San Antonio Park with some friends to visit Deer Hollow Farm. The flowering thistles were drawing my attention but not delivering in any shots, no matter how much I encouraged them. Along the hike, my friend mentioned the bee on a nearby thistle. Needless to say, that was followed by several clicking sounds coming from my camera.
I love the pollen on this bee, the colors, clarity, aphids and spider web.
Lavender attracts three varieties of bees and the paper wasp in my front yard. These guys are Carpenter Bees. They don’t have stingers but are still rather aggressive. Despite their large size, they are harder to shoot in an interesting way than the honey bees since they are much faster and much more impatient. In the top photo, if you look, you can see my reflection in the eye. The bee below seems to have lost an antennae.
I am finding that I enjoy taking photos of the bees in the front yard. They don’t mind me being there and they are great subjects. This little guy was hanging on to the lavender with just his hind legs while cleaning his tongue.
I didn’t go out shooting today with any intent to photograph more bees. However, this, I could not pass up. While walking through an old orchard, I noticed a large something hanging from a tree. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be hundreds of bees. Perhaps a thousand or more? I probably got about 10 or 15 feet away to take this shot (and a few others). I was a bit nervous to get much closer. At first I thought this was a hive, but when I returned later in the day to get more shots, all of the bees were gone. In reading on this, it looks like the hive had split and this group was looking for a new home.
The close-up detail (while not super-sharp) gives a good perspective on just how crazy the cluster was.
This shot is a single-shot HDR to bring out the details in the cluster. This was taken around noon so the lighting was horrible.
I have been quiet on here lately, but the shutter has still been firing. Bees are still capturing the attention of my camera. They are challenging to capture in interesting moments, which usually means flight. I’ve been getting pretty close and I upset one of the larger bees (which are quite aggressive even towards the other bees). The trick I learned here was a shutter speed of about 1600 was required to get the better shots. Manual focus seems to be the way to go along with patience. Chasing the bees with the camera is just plain frustrating as they are far faster than the focus.
Reverse lens macro of one of the bees on the spanish lavender.
The evening light today was perfect for shooting some tree blossoms and the busy bees working on them. I was using my 28-135 lens for these shots which means I had to crop quite a bit to get the right detail. The real challenge here was sharp focus with the quickly moving bees. For that, I used live view, zoomed in to quickly manually focus on the bees while somewhat still. Once they started to move, I let the rapid-fire shutter go. This collection is out of about 30 total attempts.