Tucked into the California Poppy

Dang. These pictures look so much better at full resolution.

Love the pollen bucket, the pollen all over, and the grains on her eye. They don’t stay on the poppies very long, and the slightest breeze and they’re all over the place. Tough to get an in-focus shot like this. Love this flower, too. Has prettymuch taken over part of a rock garden late in the season. Silly thing opens late and closes early. Anyway…

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Back to that Blanket Flower

Similar to one last week but different bee and composition. Can’t say much more than I already have about the blanket flower. Looking forward to next summer when there will be several more around here. Guess one more thing: their blossoms persist for a long, long time – and throw pollen all the way through. Great for pollinators!

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The Blanket Flower Continues to Deliver

These flowers might be my very favorites for bees. Hard to say. Didn’t shoot for long yesterday, but I got some neat stuff on the blanket flowers – natives, bumbles, and some honeybees. Here’s one of those. Love the colors and the shape of the bee.

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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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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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Bonus – Essential Workers Identified!

I’ll have to admit to being frustrated by this lockdown. I’m non-essential. And how I’d make my living is currently verboten – with no real end in sight. So I sit and stew about choices and opportunities and find that I’ve put myself into a stupid spot. And by that I don’t mean chasing art – I do mean the stewing is counterproductive to anything worthwhile.

SO – it’s near-70F here. Beautiful day. I’ve got a full battery, an empty SD card, it’s light out, and I’m not wearing sunglasses… (cue Jake).

The bees KNOW they’re essential…or, better, they don’t know and don’t care and are doing their bee things. In this case, on a Rock Cress again. And I’ll do my thing – essential or no. And share a pic I just shot of a pretty girl on a pretty flower with a pretty full pollen bucket.

Made me smile. That essential thing. Hope it did you, too.

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