Bee Colony macro 31 May 2014

My buddy Roy has started raising bees, which is a damn neighborly thing to do given the dangers of colony collapse disorder. Once the colony was established and growing well, I brought my lights over with my 70-200, 500D magnifier and extension tubes and got dressed up in protective clothing. The focus distance with the magnifier is about 25cm, give or take a few cm, so I was right up on the hive and the bees weren’t too happy about me or the strobes going off. Fortunately, the protective gear worked and none of them were able to successfully sting me.

Shooting Bees - BTS

Roy handled the smoker and the honeycomb racks while I handled the lighting and camera

I was throwing 1280w/s at the bees, shooting at f/32 to get as much depth of field as possible. At these closeup focal distances focus is critical, and to be honest the 5D2 is not the best camera for this fast moving, dynamic situation. Also, the bees tend to move quickly until they were in a defensive stance, so it was difficult to get very many different shots. My overall keeper rate was around 25%, with a lot of very similiar shots in that subset.

I did get a couple of frames with bees in mid-air. I’d like to say I set that up and nailed the shot, but the truth is that I just got lucky. I had a great time with these shots, and I’m looking forward to doing more macros of the hive later in the summer.

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