Strange Shot – Backlit

Had a really good bee day yesterday. Home for a bit between art festivals and really should be doing other things, but the camera beckons. Never take time to shoot while I’m out/away. So I find myself with camera in hand with the bees more often than I probably ought on this break.

This is a twilight shot over the birdbath (which happens to be a huge, eroded stone from the deserts of Utah). Shot in to the setting sun so there’s some backlighting. Notice the reflections in the water. The technique was kind of a disaster. There wasn’t much light because twilight. And because there wasn’t much light, three bad things (vis a vis shooting bees) had to happen:
1) I had to shoot more slowly than I normally do. Specifically, 1/640th of a second rather than my normal, 1/1250+.
2) I had to open up the aperture way up. Specifically f/3.2 versus the f/~5.6 that’s somewhat normal. That means the depth of focus is much shallower.
3) The camera went to the maximum ISO that it’s allowed (1600). Makes it more sensitive to light, but introduces grain/artifacts in the picture.

Instead of focusing on a single bee like I usually do, I focused on a spot in the middle of the birdbath and clicked the shutter when there were bees in the frame. Got a LOT of blurry/out-of-focus shots and knew that would happen. The hope was I’d be clicking when one flew through the plane of focus. That happened a time or two – question of odds. Was clearly running out of light but wanted to keep shooting the bees…and this is what I came up with to accomplish that want. And it’s an interesting picture.

This is a dead horse I’m beating here on this site – but bees need water. Lots of articles on the ‘net about “pollinator gardens”, but very few mention providing water for the bees. And a regular bird bath or bucket won’t do because they need something to stand on when they drink. Can be as simple as a pie tin with some gravel in it. Do it.

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Another from Summer – in the Bird(bee)bath

This birdbath (eroded stone from the Colorado Plateau) only sits about eighteen inches off the ground. And two cats prowl. Needless to say, it doesn’t get visited often by birds. But it’s always full of bees. And the paper wasps like it, too.

People often talk about planting flowers that attract pollinators – and there’s great value in that. But another thing you can do to encourage pollinators to visit is to provide them water. You don’t have to schlep a fifty pound rock miles across the desert – a simple pie tin or bowl or something will work. Put some rocks or gravel in it, though, so that the bees have something to balance on while they drink. Anyway…

Neat pic today. Wings, tongue, face…everything (along with the little one blurred in the background there). Hoping for new spring pics today. Not snowing finally…and should get up to near sixty this afternoon. I’m sure the girls are ready to let loose and play.

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Doing the Backstroke?

I filled up the birdbath (oops, the bee watering rock) yesterday morning and I guess the turbulence of the water flipped a bee onto her back. She seemed a little panicked – and did several circles swimming backward trying to right herself. She finally flipped herself over, was able to climb up onto a floating leaf, and made her way up the wall for a lengthy grooming session. Normally I only post a single photo. But here’s a long series. Kinda fun. Hope it doesn’t overwhelm your phone…bit of overkill for sure…

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In the Morning…in the Birdbath

Or so-called birdbath. I’ve never seen a bird in it. Might have something to do with the cats prowling the area. But that doesn’t stop the bees nor the wasps nor any other manner of insects from drinking. Pretty neat when it’s full of bees.

This one is a neat one. Like this shot a lot. Very bee-like and some bee-joy in it, I think. Plus you just can’t beat that tongue.

That said, if you want to attract pollinators, put out some water that they can access. It’s a fine thing to buy pollinator-friendly plants…but they need to drink, too – note the other four bees in the pic. It works.

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