Lavender is fantastic for pollinators. There’s even an extra in that shot…not particularly a pollinator by definition – but passively/accidentally doing it as it moves from flower to flower.
I’m not sure of the variety of Lavender. After a few years in the garden, when other varieties are present, they kind of tend to invent their own variants. Pretty though. And teeming with bees and other critters.
Another shot from Red Butte Garden (described in yesterday’s post). Something tells me I really should know what this flower’s called, but don’t. One of the hazards of leaving my own yard.
If you look very closely, you might see another critter peeking out from somewhere. I think that the close-ups are usually more compelling, but this one from a little farther out grabbed me. The attitude of the bumble and the blossom seem to work nicely together.
This was shot last August at Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City. I’d driven a friend to an appointment with a doctor and I had a couple of hours to kill. I had my cameras with me and so I decided to have a look at the gardens there. It was a really odd day in that it seemed to be all bumbles, all the time – and several varieties. Only a few natives, fewer honeybees, and just masses of bumbles. Normally, I’m overwhelmed with honeybees and the occasional bumble is a treat. That afternoon, it was reversed. But it sure was a fun day to shoot. And the gardens there are exceptional. Stop in if you’re in the area – and I’ll bet you thank me after your visit.
In other news, when I was introduced to this flower (in our own gardens) I heard “Corn Flower” rather than “Cone Flower”. So…they’ll always be Corn Flowers to me.
I think I mentioned I wasn’t much of a taxonomist…yet.
Terrible day for taxonomy. But a very good day for a neat looking bee. I know neither the name of the bee nor the flower. I took it at the Ogden Botanical Gardens in August of 2019. This is one of my favorite bees. It often has its back end up as you can see in the picture. When I was younger, I saw the aftermath of a traffic accident in which one of those long, wide, boat-like American cars from the early ’70s had gotten rear ended. The whole rear end was pushed upward, uniformly, at past a forty-five degree angle. This bee reminds me of that.
This is a really neat shot of a bumble (not sure of the variety) on a salvia that’s different from yesterday. This particular salvia seems to attract a wide variety of bees and other pollinators. Butterflies are particularly fond of it. I’m a little frustrated not knowing which cultivar it is. Check back and maybe I’ll edit this post if I’m able to figure it out. But the picture – this is the orientation of the original shot. But… A quick flip 90 degrees clockwise and you get this:
I almost like this orientation better. When printed, I tend to want to hang it this way. The crop might need just a bit more picture on the right for better composition, but it’s the orientation that I’m looking at. I think I could go with either. Artistic license, right?
Here’s a nice profile of a longhorn bee. Their eyes…the color and the pattern. They intrigue me. Beautiful and perfect with the aesthetic. This one is fairly clean as longhorns go. They’re often covered. They don’t groom as often or well as honeybees do. At least that I’ve noticed.
And none of them seemed to quite get it in whatever bee kindergarten they didn’t attend. They rarely share and rarely play nicely with others. If they have a flower, they’ll defend it. If someone else is on a flower, they’ve got no compunction about knocking that someone off and taking it. The only exception I’ve noticed is on the larger sunflowers. Occasionally they won’t bother another bee and will work the other side.
They’re one of my favorites to shoot. They are interesting and complex from all angles. Just a beautiful creature.
And, again, the sunflower. Weeds according to some. But gems according to the pollinators. Plant some. Let them seed themselves and wander through your yard from season to season. They’ll take over for a season…then seed and begin again – there and elsewhere. One of my favorites.
Two today, both laden with pollen. Before you get too impressed with the bee in flight, you should probably know that I’m muttering about blind pigs and acorns and rolling the dice often enough and other similar aphorisms.
Part of the reason for that is that the depth of focus, when shooting bees, is pretty thin. I’m trying to figure out how to explain this in a way that makes sense and it’s tough because a photo is a two dimensional representation of three dimensions (well, four, if you count that fraction of a second caught).
Imagine a pane of glass about 1/8″ of an inch thick (likely less) that’s about a foot away from your lens and directly perpendicular to it – so you’re looking straight through it. That eighth or sixteenth of an inch of thickness – that’s what is going to be in focus when the shutter snaps.
If you go back to the Hairy Eyeball Bee that I posted on the 8th of this month, you’ll see that only part of the eyeball is in focus. And a bee in profile is a pretty thin thing as it is. But in that shot we lose focus on the legs quickly…and the pollen on her head, just a millimeter or few behind, is blurring. And the closer the target is to the lens, the thinner the depth of focus is cut.
That’s one of the reasons that shooting bees is tough. The other is that they’re always moving. And they’re fast in flight.
SO…all that is to point out that the constraints are pretty awful. Nearly impossible. Meaning that to get a shot of one in flight with another nearly in that same focal plane has very little to do with planning and skill – and much more to do with luck and rolling the dice enough times to make something happen.
The Meadow Blazing Star (Liatris ligulistylis) is an incredible plant for attracting pollinators. I look forward to it blooming every year. The pollen mess all over that bumble is Liatris pollen. White, not purple. Seems odd to me, but what do I know? This variety gets pretty tall – up to five feet. And when it blooms (late summer/early fall), it’s just covered with blossoms – nearly bottom to top. My only criticism of the thing is it moves some even in the slightest breeze – and it’s tough enough finding a bee that will hold still… 😉