Sunday, May 04, 2008

On My Best Bee-Haviour

Sorry, Honey, I Gotta Fly

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON


So we know I'm a busy guy, right? Father of three. Husband of one. Friend of many. I've got novels to write, bloggers to catch up with, errands to run, photographers to mentor, writers to help. Kinda busy, hey?

But sometimes a guy just has to do what a guy has to do. And yesterday I spent half an hour - read my lips. Half. An. Hour. Yes, that's right, half an hour photographing three bees. Yes, okay, so I had a bee in my bonnet. Well, not quite.

There's this bush near our house and it's got beautiful white late-autumn blossoms on it. I'm not sure exactly what kind of shrub it is, but I'm confident one of my readers will be able to identify it on the basis of the photograph below.

Each blossom is only a few millimetres wide, tops. And so I wandered over to take some shots, bearing in mind that it was in deep shade on a cloudy morning. As you can see from this shot, the blossoms grow in the shape of a crown.


That's when I heard the bees. And putting aside my irrational fear stemming from the fact that I got stung multiple times, even on my butt, when I was little, I decided to get up close and personal for the sake of a good photograph. But this was the best I could do. Bees hover, which makes it difficult to draw a bead on 'em.

However, as an avid observer of wildlife, I can now reveal to you that some bees have a drinking problem. One of them had obviously had too much nectar. He would settle on a bloom, sit there for a few seconds, then he'd slide off. He'd find another bloom - and slide off again, uncontrollably. It was seriously like watching a drink trying to walk in a straight line.

I was just standing there with my camera, leaning over the bush at nose level - and I was laughing so much that my shoulders were shaking. Good thing the neighbours here know I'm just a committed photographer, not a Loony Toon.

Check out the rules at Camera Critters or go to Misty Dawn.

34 comments:

quilldancer said...

Too beeutiful. And I am oh-so-happy to hear that you aren't misbeehaving.

Maggie May said...

What a wonderful picture! So clear. Un bee-lievable!

Corey~living and loving said...

Sounds like fun. Wish I had been there.
I posted a photo off a bumble bee on my blog this week. Photographing bugs is harder than I thought it would be. It is my challenge for the summer. I WILL master insect photography. :)

Indrani said...

Hi David, Enjoyed reading this post on bee-havior. :)
Mine is a butterfly, hope you will visit.

A.Bananna said...

I love spring because that is when I love to take pictures! :) great shots! I love Bee's!

thank you for your wonderful comment on my blog! :)

Debbie in NC said...

A Bee won't bite the hand that...

follows it for half an hour admiring it. Who would? Great pic!

Sandi McBride said...

I love the pictures of the bees, but would prefer the real thing! Once again, we are bee shy...I can just see you trying to get the photo of the inebriated bee...don't think they make cuffs that small, so he'll just have to go on and fly drunk. Least there are no kiddies on his passenger list!
Sandi

Sharon said...

I think they are very good! Enjoyed the story, it gives the pictures more meaning!

I'm a lucky persom, and have never been stung by anything but fire ants. Hate fire ants.

My Camera Critter is up.

babooshka said...

That's an incredible close up. Stunning shot.

Katney said...

I think that , thought bees might not stay perfectly still, they might be one critter that does not take off for other parts when you try to get close enough for a picture. That wa the problem I was having with the critters I caught this week. Of course, with your wonderful lenses, you probably don't have to get as close as I do.

CrazyCath said...

I have seen bees drunk on nectar! It is seriously funny.

Great shots. And in only half an hour? Not bad! ;0) Sometimes I can try all day and get nowhere, then other times, I have the shot I want in minutes.

'Sway it goes huh?
(If I had set out to photo bees or something, it would have taken a lot longer. If I had set out to photo flowers, I'd have got a shot like that by accident and not even known what I'd got!)

:-Daryl said...

Yesterday we spent 2 hrs watching Bee Movie and laughing ... I dont think your bee is a honey bee .. not fat/round enough ... or maybe Aussie honey bees are slender? Fabulous photo nonetheless .. you should watch Bee Movie.. its all the buzz! :-Daryl

i beati said...

beeing so observantg as usual

Blog Princess G said...

Hee hee - I never thought of bees being overindulgent with pollen... cute little addicts, so fluffy - just wish they didn't feel the need to sting.

D... said...

What a great macro shot! You have to bee patient to creat this kind of buzz! Well done!

Lilli & Nevada said...

Love that last photo as you can see right thru those wings. Glad to hear too that your husband to only One.
LOL

Misty Dawn said...

David - these are great. But, what makes them even better is when I read that you had to put aside a fear to take these pics. I'm EXACTLY the same when it comes to bees! When I was young, I stepped on a Yellow Jacket nest and was stung over 100 times. I remember every miserable detail, and have developed a fear of bees. Recently though, I have taken steps to put that fear aside to get some bee shots, and I have been quite proud of myself.

This is a fantastic post!

Akelamalu said...

Incredible photos David and I love the story of the drunk bee!

Sherry said...

I have seen bees drunk on nectar too, and it -is- funny! :) Your photos are excellent.

Mima said...

Great pics, what a pity about the shade, although I guess that you might have lost the white in full sunshine! Would love to have seen the drunk bee, I have never seen one and I would imagine it to be a real treat!

Ishat's Fire said...

hey David,
Liked the bee story. Seen you around other blogs I read.

O.k. I actually am a photographer. I haven't put any of my photos on line yet, so you will have to believe me.

I have done bees. I have no fear of them. So it makes it easier for me.

But, if you get a long lense with a stabilizer and a tripod near the flowers they are going to, but not close. It will help with the fear factor. It will also allow you to get close up shots. If you try farther away, also the whole be will be in focus. And you can crop it to what you wanted to show.

If you were going for the macro look, it is hard to get the right section of the been in focus. Even more so if you are dealing with a fear factor. Of course with easy editing you can soften up parts of the photo you wanted softer anyway.

I forgot about the season difference for a minute when I saw the blossoms, until you mentioned it.

Have a good one!

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana loves these kind of close up pics too. Great work.

Kimberly said...

I'm giggling like mad over the mental movie this post set rolling. I'm wicked scared of bees though. Recurring nightmares since I was a kid. I should go out and get stung already so I stop imagining it to be the most painful experience in the entirety of creation.

CrazyCath said...

Posted my first camera critter David! Woo hoo! Getting brave in my old age...

Tammy said...

My husbands is scared to death of bees. He actually runs aways screaming like a little girl when one gets close to him. Yep, my big strong man. LOL

Dave Coulter said...

Before your family writes you off as a complete eccentric you should know that here in Illinois the state has set up a program encouraging people to photograph...bees!

They are so concerned about a) loss of native bee species, and b)
colony collapse disorder that they are recruiting the public to help.

You're on the cutting edge of science, man!

Vic Grace said...

We don't have any bees out yet but they make a great shot. I will have to try.

"Life is a Journey not a Destination" said...

What a wonderful shots!

Mine is up too!

Take care!

andrée said...

Abe Lincoln writes about what the bees drink that makes them drunk and damn if I haven't fogotten what it is!

OK: Morning glories! But there are other flowers, too.

I'm glad you took the time for us for these shots!

fishing guy said...

David: Wonderful shots of the flower and the honey bee.

willow said...

Bee, nice.

Bubba's Sis said...

Bee-yootiful shots, Honey!

Rue said...

Hi David,

Thank you so much for coming by. I loved this post about the bees, mostly because I would be laughing in the bushes like a nutcase too ;)

Beautiful photography!

Have a great day,
rue

storyteller said...

Thanks for your visit to my "Blog Your Blessings on Sunday' post at Sacred Ruminations … leaving the link to your interesting blog. I may have visited once or twice before when I first became a blogger because there’s a ‘familiarity’ … and I thoroughly enjoyed this Camera Critters post. I admire your tenacity and the results you obtained. I’ve joined Misty Dawn’s Camera Critters for the past few weeks on my other blog, Small Reflections … featuring my fur-friends at home.
Hugs and blessings,