In this small world all the insects get along pretty well foraging the same plants, or so it seems. There are a few to stay clear of.
I was using a Nikkor 60mm and 105mm, f2.8 lenses on a Nikon D7000. The setting was mostly consistent at a manual setting of 1/2000s f7.1 at ISO 1000. The speed of the shutter was so the camera could have a greater depth of field at f7.1, but more importantly, to catch some in flight. With the shutter speed so high, I did not have to worry as much on focusing by hand holding the camera. Is it not a little spooky getting this close to see the eyes up close?
When shooting this close up, a manual setting is pretty necessary for good focus. Focusing on the eyes is where you want to point the camera because often, the rest of the body will blur out if not kept in the same plane as the head. You can see that in the bee on the pumpkin flower. The closer you get to the subject, the less that will stay focused at that distance.
Often multiple shots are taken at varying focal lengths of the lens, then stacked, but when hand holding the camera as I did in this shoot, that is very unlikely they would line up. Any slight movement of subject or photographer will cause blur and misalignment of the stacked images.
This post has a corresponding post on Garden Walk Garden Talk, called Macro Mad. More critters are photographed really close up. With this lens, I can get six inches away from the subject. You can imagine with bees, wasps and hornets, that this is a little dicey.
Mostly, I will use my 300mm telephoto lens on bees and wasps, but occasionally, I will use the lens here in this post. Notice in some of the images, that all eyes are trained on the camera. Insects do not feel very comfortable with a lens right on top of them.
Catching them in flight is a bit tricky, because as I said, they need to be almost in the same plane of view. At f7.1, I have a bit of leeway, better than if I had the camera set to f2.8 anyway.
I don’t use this lens much because of limitations, like no zooming. It is a professional lens and a little harder to use. If I practiced often, I would be much better.
I learned something really interesting from a reader of GWGT, that I want to share with readers here. Emma, at Miss Apis Mellifera has a great bee blog. In her recent post, she explains why bees have terra-cotta pollen in their pollen baskets. Really the post has other more interesting info, but that caught my eye because I keep seeing bees in my garden carrying around pollen of this color. Now I know why. I grow Dahlias. A pollen chart shows what the bees are collecting. Very cool to know. Thank you Emma for sending me to Basil and Bees.
Above is an Ailanthus Webworm. It is actually a moth, even though with closed wings, looks more like a bug. On the GWGT post, I have a photo of them mating.
Also another photo of this bee above. Bees really like pumpkin flowers. And I learned a tidbit about that too, on the blog Lichenwood Rambles. I found out most of my pumpkin flowers are male. Who knew? But six to seven bees can be found in one flower alone.
And another thing I found out by observation of the pumpkin flowers. Bees get trapped inside when the flowers wilt in the sun. I freed quite a few of them. They must get intoxicated or something to get sealed in. The flower closes up in the heat and they are stuck inside until who knows when? Now I am on bee patrol, saving them from getting cooked alive in the heated chamber of closed petals. Maybe I am all wrong and they have some purpose in there, but they seem to be glad to go free. More pumpkin observation over on Garden Walk Garden Talk, Insects and Pumpkins, Not Always a Happy Pair.
The world of insects is such a cool world. Stuff happens all the time that is truly unexpected. Plus, they make really interesting photo subjects. I find them more intriguing than photographing flowers, but they go hand in hand with flowers.
They eyes are an interesting feature on insects. Some of them the eyes are so big. Well at least two of them on bees, the other three simple eyes, the ocelli are small. The compound eyes are made up of thousands of tiny lenses called facets. With a lens attachment, I might be able to see a little of that, but more likely I would need a microscope, like images from the post Snapple Capped the Buzz on Bees. In that post, I talked about how bees have hair on their eyes. And another blogger, Rose Lynn Fisher did some amazing electron microscope photography. It is worth a look.
But, a butt view is cool too.
This bee was not missing anything here. Pretty clean of pollen I must say.
This is the same wasp as below. Not sure if it is an Isodontia auripes. I do have photos of it with blue wings. Not sure of this one with reddish wings.