I wasn’t going to post this picture. I almost didn’t even take this picture. It’s not my favorite photo, and in fact I would say I don’t even like it that much at all. However, despite everything I don’t really care for in this image I thought I would share it here anyway as kind of a progress pic. Sort of.
Here’s the deal. Or the background, rather. In June of 2014 I took this shot of a honeybee approaching a magnolia flower which was the first of its kind I was ever able to get. I got it with nothing more than my humble little D200 and 50mm f/1.8 lens in a mostly unexpected act of photographic serendipity. It’s kind of a neat photo, but one thing I wish I could have gotten better was a full image of the bee. That picture was almost the shot I wish I could have gotten. Almost, almost…but not quite.
Ever since then I have thought about how cool it would be to get a shot of a bee sipping nectar from a flower, or hovering close to a flower, or something, anything, involving a bee and a flower. But man, those shots are difficult! Or at least they are for me, since there’s probably more I could do to get those types of shots that I just don’t know about. Or, more accurately, am too lazy to do on a regular basis :)
Anyway, if I ever see flowers and bees and happen to have my camera I always try to catch that white whale, photographically speaking, and while it’s never really happened to my satisfaction I keep trying hoping to one day get the shot I’ve been thinking about for years. In the meantime I need to learn to keep practicing, and also be happy with the pictures I am able to get even if they’re not what I would consider ideal or even all that great. They’re pictures that I made, and that’s not nothing :)
Tom Curry says
I think that’s a perfectly acceptable picture of a bee and flower. For me, it would be a “keeper”.
My question though, would be “how did you get so close with a 50mm lens? My Nifty 50 has a minimum focus distance of about 12”. Was it cropped to bring it in closer?
Good question, Tom. I used a close-up filter on my 50mm lens which lets me get a lot closer than normal. Those filters are very cheap but require a lot of practice to learn how to use effectively. An actual macro lens would be great, but for now I just use those filters. I did crop it a little too.
Tom Curry says
Thank you, Simon.
I have a 35mm Macro and a Tokina 100mm Macro. Have a lot of fun with those.
Rebecca Burlingham says
This is a great photo. Bees are hard to catch. You have to be in a high shutter speed to freeze the wings, high burst rate to catch every movement and continuous focus, because they don’t sit still. It’s almost like photographing kids.
Hahaha! You’re right–it’s just like photographing kids! They move about the same speed as buzzing bees :)
Carolana Rehse says
Ha! I thoroughly enjoyed your article, as well as, the comments. Count me in as one who hunts for bees. My dream is to capture a bee just as he comes in for a landing. What do you think my chances are?
Well, like my dad always says, with a little patience anything is possible. Though in the case of photographing bees, I’d say it takes a lot of patience!