It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet.... As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye... ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn. ~Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Me and my bumble bees, up close and personal.
He is a California Bumblebee... Bombus californicus. He is a "he" because he doesn't have a pollen basket on his back legs.Only the females have that big yellow sac on their legs.
The Nikon 105mm macro lens is what allows me to get this close without endangering my life. (Yes, bumble bees do have stingers, and yes they do hurt. Unlike honeybees, bumble bees' stingers do not detach from their bodies so they don't die after they sting you.) I'm still learning how to use this new macro lens, but sometimes I do everything right and this photo is the result.
I can't tell you how many shots I took before I got this one... multitudes, believe me. I normally use a tripod but with bees it's best to have some mobility, so I use a monopod or just hand hold the camera.
The image size changes significantly as you focus in the macro range, which makes it very hard to get clear framing. Your DOF (depth of field), the part of the picture that is in focus, is very small. It's enough to drive me crazy trying to get precise focus on my subject. But this one worked.
I love these flowers. Zinnias come in such beautiful colors and are a lot easier to shoot than bees. They stay in one place.
No wonder the bees look like this. The pollen is everywhere. It's like a snowy day.
After the leaves die back, what remains is the seed pod. I have many colors of hollyhocks in the garden but this pale one has the darkest seed pod. Seems odd, doesn't it.
These little "bumbles" are wonderful to watch and photograph. When night comes they all find a place to sleep. Tonight they will all try to sleep inside a flower. It's funny to watch them vie for position. One flower tonight had five bumblebees trying to find a place to sleep.