Bonus – Pollen Buckets and Beebelly at High ISO

This one is a little too grainy to be a bee of the day. But I’m so taken by the shot – the bee – and the flower. First, look at those pollen buckets. So so full. Then her face – eye and mandibles. Then her belly. Then finally her posture – how she’s hanging by one leg. Sometimes they get a little stuck. She thrashed for a minute, finally turned around, put up another leg and pulled herself up – got free and flew to the next flower.

Was shot at 8:30 a.m. – before the sun crested the mountain, so not much light. When I shoot bees, I shoot in Pentax’ TAV mode. That means that I control the shutter speed (1/640 in this case) and the aperture (f/5.6 in this case) and let the camera determine the ISO. And, in this case because the light was so low/absent, it jumped to 3200. With the K-3, anything above 800 ISO gets too grainy for my tastes – especially on a tight crop like this pic.

That said, when shooting moving subjects, the ability to control both the shutter speed and aperture (all other things equal) is a great technique. If your camera doesn’t have that TAV setting, you may be able to go into Manual Mode (M on most cameras) and specify automatic ISO – effectively giving you the same thing.

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Pollen Buckets on Helianthemum

Helianthemum – also known as rock rose, sunrose, rushrose, and frostweed. As I mentioned before, fantastic for pollinators.

A bit windy yesterday and this isn’t a particularly good shot of the flower – but look at those pollen buckets on her. Wondering how full is too full. And of course her filthy face. Another thing to notice is her underside. Such a neat pattern there. Very cool little bee today.

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Bonus – In Flight – through the Helianthemum

Helianthemum – also known as rock rose, sunrose, rushrose, and frostweed. Pretty neat stuff…my only complaint is that it closes up early in the evening.

This particular bee wasn’t very interested in the pollen – I don’t think it was ready yet, yesterday – but she hovered around long enough for me to get almost good focus on a number of shots. And look at that huge pollen bucket (and beetongue!). Here’s one of them:

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