What’s All the Buzz About?

"Where's my belt?"

A sure sign of spring… bees getting all fuzzied up in the pollen!

Photo tip: If you’re gonna shoot macro, use a tripod. However, I didn’t follow my own advice here. The bees were moving so much (not staying in place more than a second or two), and they’re just a little more than 1/2″ long, trying to chase them with a tripod would have been somewhat futile.

As it is, I shot using handheld, and to get to a fast enough shutter speed to capture the fast little critters (1/125 sec), I had to put the aperture at f/2.8. That means that only a very shallow focal plane was available… everything in front of that plane and everything behind that plane is not in sharp focus. Somewhere around the back and head are the focal point. Notice the flowers, just a smidgen away, are not in focus. The wings and legs are not because they were moving.

So the point… lower f/stops result in faster shutter speeds, but more shallow focal planes. Be aware of this as you prepare to shoot.

Oh, and for those of you who think this is a bumblebee, it’s not. It’s a carpenter bee. Carpenter bees are smaller than bumbles, and they have the shiny black rear end like you see here. Bumbles have fuzzy yellow butts. Also, only the female carpenter bees sting. The males don’t even have a stinger, but they want you to think they do, as they act very aggressive. (And that’s your insect lesson for the day. :)

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