The Old Hairy Eyeball

Honeybee on an Aster

Well, almost a hairy eyeball. But more at: hair between parts of the eye. But first…five eyes total. Three simple ones on the top of the head (called ocelli). And then two compound ones on either side of the head. Although you cannot see the simple ones in this photograph, they’re pretty clear in the shot from Feb. 3.

The compound eyes are made of an array of lenses called ommatidia. And there is specialized hair between those lenses. Some say that the hair between the lenses detects wind direction and speed – which is apparently useful for navigation. Citation needed, I think. Might be a myth. And they sure have a lot of other hair elsewhere… A team at Georgia Tech made the case that the hair keeps pollen out of the eyes. Or, better, allows for collecting and then removing the pollen. That makes more sense to me. And also fits with what I’ve observed (pollen mess/cleaning/grooming). Stay tuned for some shots of filthy, filthy bees.

Here’s the eye in that pic at 100 percent. I won’t often break out a photo, but this was too interesting not to.

Not quite a “hairy eyeball”. But hair, nonetheless, at the intersections of the hexagonal ommatidia.

This one is on an aster. Here in the foothills of the Rockies, asters begin to bloom in late summer and continue until it freezes hard. They’re often one of the last plants making new blossoms as the season winds down. And the bees just love them. Especially the honeybees – as well as some of the natives. They’re a great late-season flower for pollinators.

Notice that she’d gotten into something else before. That larger pollen on her head and back. Looks like maybe a Rose of Sharon or a Winecup?

Parenthetically, I just printed this shot on acrylic at 16″ x 20″. In a word, stunning! Not typical wall art, I know, but wow. It really pops. She’s got gorgeous eyes!

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CANCELLED – Palisade (Colorado) International Honeybee Festival – Mark the Date! – April 18, 2020

Honeybee on Cone Flower (Echinacea) – Taken at Ogden (UT) Botanical Gardens 

I’ll be in Colorado on Saturday, the 18th of April, 2020 for the 12th Annual Palisade International Honeybee Festival. You can learn more about it on their website: http://palisadehoneybeefest.org/

They also have a FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/Palisade.International.Honeybee.Festival/

Looks to be an educational, fun, edifying event. A great way to spend a Saturday. It’s free to attend and will go all day. There will be live music, art, crafts, and other goods for sale – as well as a variety of food from local restaurants and other vendors.

I’ll have a booth there displaying and selling some of my better photographs – mostly of bees. In addition to the traditional matted and framed photographs, I’ll have prints on metal, canvas, and acrylic. I hope you find some space on your wall for a photograph or two… (Note: just picked up my first prints on acrylic, metal, and canvas. Wow.)

Jean Tally, the Volunteer Coordinator of the honeybee festival, has been incredibly helpful to me as I prepare for this event. After years (don’t ask how many) of shooting, this will be my first foray into sharing my stuff. With Jean at the helm, it’s a lock that it will be well-run and worthwhile.

Also, while you’re in the area, check out the Blue Pig Gallery ( 101 West 3rd Street there in Palisade, CO). They’ve got some wonderful – no, stunning – art there from local artists. Worth a stop for sure. Kay Crane, the gallery director, has been wonderfully generous to me with both her time and advice. Have a look. And on the evening of the 17th (the Friday before), the Blue Pig Gallery will be hosting a kick-off reception.

One of the photographs I’ll have to offer there is today’s bee of the day. It’s one of my favorites and it looks really nice printed. It’s a Honeybee on Cone Flower (Echinacea) that I shot last July at the Ogden (UT) Botanical Gardens. (And that’s worth a look if you’re ever in Ogden. They do a really neat job there.)

Hope to see you in Colorado!

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