I was on my way home together with my girls. There was a light rain, a drizzle if you will, when my wife spotted, with her hawk-like eyes, a bumblebee seeking shelter on a flower.
We were just around the corner from our flat so I hurriedly ran to get my camera. Luckily the bumblebee was still there when I got back. I don’t know if it had been sleeping but it was sitting very still and had only started moving a little bit in a very lazy fashion by the time I got there with camera poised for action. Probably it was just trying to get dry and it seemed to be getting more active so I started shooting immediately.
Since it was raining, or at least had been raining (it had pretty much stopped at this point), there wasn’t much light, which normally wouldn’t be that much of a problem. However, my biggest challenge proved to be to get the light acceptable. I think there were two factors that came into play which made lighting the scene tricky. First: the bumblebees are mainly black, especially the head and the eye, a pretty deep black at that. It’s very difficult to bring out details when everything is black, it just doesn’t reflect the light at all. Multiple light sources would have been a big help here. When I get rich I’m definitely going to invest in Nikon’s close up flash kit, all my lighting woes should be history with that beauty. Another thing that might have helped is a bigger light source – must build softbox, must not procrastinate. Second: the flowers that the bumblebee was sitting on was shaped in such a way and in such a position that there wasn’t much for the light to bounce around on, it just lit the subject from one side and then continued into empty space.
Even though there was only a faint breeze, the flowers were tall (almost as tall as me) and moved a lot so I had to hold them to keep them still. As usual, this added to the difficulty of getting the light right since I had to hold the flash with the same hand as the flower.
Enough complaining. Even though it was definitely more difficult than I thought it would be with such willing subjects, I still managed to get a couple of decent shots. The focus in the one to the left here isn’t perfect but I still like it. My favourite is probably the one at the top though, I think the wet hair makes him look both cute and crazy at the same time. There was something about this wet bumblebee that made me want to mess up his hair even more, you know, just ruffle it up real good. Luckily I managed to refrain from doing so, since I don’t think it would have been very appreciated.
This was a nice find (thank you wife) and I think I might take a little walk with the camera next time it has been raining as well – hopefully I’ll find some more critters which are too wet and miserable to run away from me.