Of Thistleballs and Photobombing

Maybe a little more than just photobombing. This leafcutter thought he??/she?? owned the whole section of the garden and kept running into all of the bees I was trying to shoot. I wonder if that’s fun for the bees. Doesn’t seem to hurt them, so I’d imagine that it is. I know I enjoyed running into people playing football. And to be able to do it with one more axis and no concussive consequences? Maybe in another life… We all aspire, I guess.

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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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Early Morning Bumble

Our neighbors to the east put in a water-wise garden in their parking strip a couple of years ago. It looks fantastic. The four Russian Sages are magnets for bees and other pollinators. Plus, with access on both sides, they’re wonderful for photos, too. And the neighbors don’t seem to mind, at least overtly, the guy out there with a camera squatting and contorting, etc. Great neighbors for so many reasons.

Shot this one this morning about thirty minutes before the sun crested the mountains. Neat bee, plant, background, light, etc. Plus tongue, in flight… Just a fun one.

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Navigating between the Larkspur and Penstemmons

A brown-belted bumble bee with full pollen baskets in flight. Kind of late in the day as you can see by the shadows. But a great look at the brown belt on the bee.

Apologies for the uninteresting narrative. Trying to get several days posted in advance and I’m lacking inspiration and energy. Long day long drive tomorrow.

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Russian Sage: It’s what’s for Dinner

Makes me happy when this one starts to bloom. And it will be a good one until the first, good frost. Neat one in flight with the tongue out. A bit busy, but good fun. Great detail on the wings.

Festival near Breckenridge, Colorado – at Silverthorne. Come have a look if you’re nearby!

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Bumble – Almost on a Larkspur

Late light on this one. But the wing blur is neat. As is the detail. Posting this one in advance, too, because I think I’ll be working on cleanup/takedown after the art fair in Logan, Utah.

Guessing we were all hot yet all had a good time. Hoping that’s the case. And hoping a lot of people I met are visiting this site for the first time!

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Wool Carder Bee Heading In

In Logan at the Art Festival again today. Fairgrounds from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. again. Not sure why so late… Makes for long, long days. And three in a row, too.

But…here’s a wool carder bee moving toward a neat penstemmon. As neat as these little ones are, they’re incredibly obnoxious for photos. They’re very territorial and pretty pugnacious. If there’s another bee in what they consider to be their territory, they’ll fly into it and knock it off the flower – repeatedly. And it seems to happen just when I’m getting ready to click. Wouldn’t be so bad if they’d hold still long enough for a shot. But they move quickly and don’t stay long on any blossom. Well, except when they’re doing the birds-and-bees thing… And I’ve probably posted enough of those.

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Neighbor’s Snapdragons

I have a wonderful neighbor who lives across the street from me and she’s got beautiful gardens. Her granddaughter wants a shot of a bee in her garden, so late in the day, I shot a little there. Not sure this is the shot I was after, but any bumble in flight is a good bee. Note the yellow in the pollen basket.

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