Before we start this post I’m going to make you a promise: I swear that I will write this whole post without making any bee related puns, none what so ever…here goes.
I’ve been wanting to get some good bee shots ever since I first read No cropping zone and decided to get a macro lens. The problem I’ve been having is that I haven’t really been able to find many bees and the ones I have found have been too busy to stop and pose for me. However, the other day my wife pointed out a good spot where I could find some bees and I went there on two occasions in an attempt to get some shots.
My favourite shot is either this one or the next, I’m not sure. I think the composition might be better on the next one but I really like it when you can see them feeding clearly like this, it’s exactly the kind of moment I’ve been wanting to capture.
Even though there were quite a lot of bees they were all very busy doing their thing. I think it was around noon, which is pretty much rush hour for these critters, which in turn is both what makes them difficult to shoot but at the same time possible to find. Not only were the bees busy, we’ve also been getting a lot of wind, something that isn’t the most convenient thing when shooting bugs. Actually it depends a lot on what kind of bugs and what they happen to be doing. Some bugs just cling on for dear life to whatever they’re sitting on, making it very easy to get close. I can then grab the flower or branch they’re perched on to keep it steady and just snap away. Or at least I would, if I didn’t have to hold the flash with the same hand. Windy means a lot of movement and if you then add an overcast sky it will be impossible to shoot without flash, at least if you want any good results.
I tried a couple of times to hold the flowers the bees were sitting on but in the end I didn’t manage to get anything good from that, the light was completely off and since the bees move around on the flower the whole time I have to keep moving and twisting the flower to keep up. In the end it felt more likely that I would fire the flash at myself instead of the bees. At one point a bee almost crawled onto my finger, that’s how busy they were, didn’t care at all about the giant camera guy.
So overall it was rather tricky conditions to shoot in – it’s not easy getting good focus when it’s sometimes problematic just to keep your subject in frame – and I ended up doing a lot of spraying and praying. The percentage of keepers from these two occasions of bee hunting was very low but I still think it was worth it, these are shots I’ve been wanting to get for a long time. I have no real idea on how to improve my luck for next time though. The best thing would be if I could find them at a time when they’re not as active but I have no idea where to look. Any suggestions from bee experts out there? One thing that would improve things immensely would be if I could free my hand from holding the flash. Maybe I’ll look into a solution for that for next year’s season.
Hah, made it, I’m good. Stay tuned, I still have some more bugs I would like to share with you later in the week.