Nature's Place

The Strangest Thing …

1-P1080600_filtered Mark Berkery

What I could get in a couple seconds, with leaf as background contrast.

2-P1080605_filtered Mark Berkery

Shifted positions slightly, had the time for the angle.

3-P1080608_filtered Mark Berkery

And the shot I wanted, because she stayed long enough and I didn’t shock her sensibilities.

Looking at the comings and goings in the garden recently I noticed a Blue Banded Bee behaving oddly. It isn’t unusual to see them land on a leaf’s edge, stretch their legs and preen for a second or two, or buzz the leaf’s edge or surface as they continue flying along it, but this one stopped as if it was time to sleep.

As soon as I saw it I moved in to take the shot I could get, then I moved a little for the angle I wanted. I didn’t think I’d have the time for that but she – four bands means its a female – was still in position so I went for the shot I wanted, with a little careful adjustment of elements – side on with a good clean background.

And she still didn’t move. Then, as I stood back, she began to fly but couldn’t get enough lift and fell to the grass. I went looking for her but she had disappeared into the forest at my feet and I don’t know what happened next.

A bee in this situation would normally climb the nearest grass stem and use it to launch from but I didn’t see her again. Sometimes the body just doesn’t get back up, sometimes the eye just doesn’t see.

Me? Not there yet, but looking at inevitability from my grass stem … :-)

© Mark Berkery ……. Click those pictures for a closer look
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30 Responses

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  1. Tammie said, on 27/01/2016 at 9:07 am

    such a dear little being
    lovely portraits of it Mark

    • Mark said, on 27/01/2016 at 10:44 am

      They are, aren’t they. Our sweet nature in a tiny package.

      Thanks Tammie.

  2. Margaret Griffin said, on 23/01/2016 at 8:53 pm

    Hi Mark, I have enjoyed looking at your recent posts. The world you are able to portray via your camera lense is magical.

    • Mark said, on 23/01/2016 at 9:26 pm

      Hi Margaret. It’s a magical world indeed.

  3. Peter Ward said, on 23/01/2016 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Mark,
    Question on your great images please – Do you crop at all to increase the subject size on your images? I’m amazed at the clarity/sharpness and size.
    I have my macro lense ‘filters’ ordered to try out.
    Thanks n Kind Regards
    Peter

    • Mark said, on 23/01/2016 at 6:12 pm

      Hi Peter.

      Have you noticed most of the pictures are 3×2? On a 4×3 sensor means I am cropping at least that, 4/3 to 3/2. I frame with the LCD and often can’t see small details so if I think there might be legs or feet at the edge I want them in the picture so will frame accordingly, at an educated guess, and crop accordingly. I don’t specifically crop for ‘magnification’, preferring to get as many pixels in the picture as possible – you never know what use you might have for them at some time. And it’s a discipline, the other way is lazy, IME. It’s also easier or get a shot you might only have a second or two for, in which case I will reduce magnification to optimise my chance of getting it and crop after for composition.

      The clarity and sharpness comes from the lighting, settings and a steady position. The light is snooted so there is no light wasted which keeps the flash duration short = sharp, and diffused to avoid extreme contrast. Settings are usually to include some ambient light so steady is necessary. All together = clear and sharp. Of course there is more to it.

      I have seen people with high end gear taking shots on the fly and wondering why they don’t look so good.

      There’s a lot more here – https://beingmark.com/macro-illustrated/ – than at first glance.

      Best … M

      • Peter said, on 28/01/2016 at 2:00 am

        Hi Mark, Didn’t notice the size but now you mention it….
        Thanks muchly for your info and I agree with getting as much in as possible. I need to set up my lighting whilst I wait for the ‘filter lens’ to come, time is a killer.
        Thanks for the snoot info, I have an SB900 flash which of course is a heavy bit of gear along with my 200mm Micro – will give it a go and see how it works.
        I’m in tropical Malaysia and it’s bloody hard to cope with the heat and everything that wants to eat you, but I reckon if I get a comfy camp chair & sit for a while in the shade things will come to me.
        Here’s hoping.
        Best Regards
        Peter

        • Mark said, on 28/01/2016 at 3:47 pm

          Hi Peter. Have you seen the new setup, same principles, different gear to the FZ50+. About 1/5th down the Macro Illustrated page. The snoot would just as easily be modified for the SB900, maybe …

          Did you check out Orionmystery/Kurt? He’s in Kuala Lumpur and runs macro meets.

          Sit long enough and they will come, to nest and eat … :-)

          Best … M

  4. treesshrubs said, on 23/01/2016 at 8:38 am

    Hi mark, love this blue banded bee. I dont think they are down here in south oz…. so exotic looks like she is wearing a fur coat : )) amazing captures!!

  5. Lissa said, on 23/01/2016 at 6:22 am

    The end of her little busy life.

    I often wonder where all the birds (bodies) end up. Not the ones squished on the road but the ones that live out their allotted life span. It’s not like we see dead bird bodies all over the place.

    • Mark said, on 23/01/2016 at 10:19 am

      And so much else we never see. The whole earth and everything living and dying all the time, endlessly. In Aus I bet the ants have something to do with the apparent absence of dead bodies. And the flies.

  6. photoleaper said, on 23/01/2016 at 4:53 am

    I love your philosophical musings and the photos are amazing!

  7. afrenchgarden said, on 23/01/2016 at 4:23 am

    I watch mine during the day on the flowers. Now I will try and see if I can catch one going to sleep in the evening. I think this one looks too young to have met a bad end, I think she must have sneaked off without you noticing. Amelia

    • Mark said, on 23/01/2016 at 10:16 am

      Thanks Amelia. She is young so you might be right, the eye doesn’t track them like I used.

  8. Alice O'Leary said, on 23/01/2016 at 2:57 am

    Wonderful commentary, Mark.

  9. Hillechien said, on 23/01/2016 at 12:15 am

    wow what a great shot

  10. workinfrogress said, on 22/01/2016 at 10:40 pm

    I have this kind of bees sleeping on my jasmin too. I often pet them and they stretch their back legs.
    Try it! It’s funny!
    Flavia

    • Mark said, on 23/01/2016 at 12:19 am

      Thanks Flavia. If you watch them at sleep time, just before sundown, you will see them do the same thing as more bees approach the roost. I believe it’s a reflex to make themselves appear bigger and dangerous to any predator, instinctively.

      • workinfrogress said, on 23/01/2016 at 1:13 am

        They scare me sooooooo much!!
        ;-)

        • Mark said, on 23/01/2016 at 10:12 am

          They actually have no designs on you, no intention to harm. In fact the males can’t sting and the females would never waste their energy attacking unless you were seriously trying to harm her, by accident or intent – she can’t tell, it’s just about survival to her. So next time you see them watch their working, their comings and goings, carefully and you will see perfect little Earth engines of change. Little beauties.

          Fear is a screen in front of your eyes, distorting the view. See through it like you see through the rain on a window and it will evaporate as if in the sunshine … :-)

  11. v4vikey said, on 22/01/2016 at 5:46 pm

    Beautiful Shot..!!

  12. Janice Marshall said, on 22/01/2016 at 3:52 pm

    Just want to tell you how much I enjoy your posts on the bugs and insects you find in your garden, its so lovely to see them up so close, really get to study them, wow, thank you.

    What pleasures it must give you seeing them there, sharing with you what they do, its amazing as I said to get up so close, to see them like never before.

    Thank you so much your keen follower Janice from Park Ridge

    • Mark said, on 22/01/2016 at 6:39 pm

      Thanks Janice. At the end of the day I water the garden and the bees hover in the spray, loving a little shower. A real pleasure to watch.

  13. Chronicles of a Blogaholic said, on 22/01/2016 at 1:49 pm

    Amazing shots and post.


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