|A point-and-shoot shot of a bee on|
a lavender plant.
|This underwhelming image was the best photo I got out of|
all my attempts to capture the bees on the rhododendron.
Recently, though, I had a stroke of luck. I managed to find two different flowers on two different days being thoroughly explored by bees in adequate light!
The allium photos, which I'm displaying first, were actually the second set of photos I captured. (I'm saving the best for last.) I had tagged along on an errand to a local nursery specifically so I could photograph their alliums and found them crawling with bees. Because the myriad tiny allium flowers come together to form a solid ball, the bee stays on the surface of the flower and is therefore the closest thing to the lens, allowing me to use the autofocus mode to highlight the bee. Because so many little flowers make up the allium balls, if a bee moved, it seldom moved very far! That meant I had plenty of opportunities! The three below are the best and give a nice view of bees at work.
This next set of photographs were made possible thanks to the anatomy of the cornflower. The flower is in fact composed of many florets and the bee was slowly and carefully probing every single one, moving only millimeters at a time. This meant I had ample time to take picture after picture. One of the outer, ray-like florets was missing, giving my lens a clear shot of the bee as it moved over the surface of the flower. I love these photos because the macro magnification brings the details of the bee to life: the jointed exoskeleton, the bristling hairs, the intricate wings, all set against the gorgeous pinks and purples of the cornflower.
You can find more photographs of the cornflower and the bee here.
I love macro photography because it allows you to see the world around you in new ways. I've photographed all manner of flowers and plants and food and inanimate objects, but this is the first time I've been able to use it to reveal the unexpected wonder of a tiny animal. (Well, I had a delightful time photographing the shrew-mole, but the details revealed weren't nearly as amazing as those seen on this ordinary bee.) I feel very lucky to have seen the bee on the cornflower while I had my camera in hand! I stopped by that same flowerbed today, less than a week later, and found that the cornflowers are done for the year. I'm thankful, too, that I decided to invest in a 100mm macro lens, enabling me to take breathtakingly beautiful, unexpected photos!