I Finally Conquered My Nemesis

I have tried for so long to capture a good clear shot of the bee on a flower. The only time I was able to get a sharp focus of a bee was — a half-dead bee that got caught in the rain. Something about shooting a lifeless bee with slump looking wings didn’t seem like a fair challenge. However after shooting over a hundred blurry shots and getting stung a couple of times, I thought about giving up on having a bee pollinating flower photo for my portfolio but… every time when I see the bees, my inner photographer voice would challenge me to shoot them. Perhaps it’s my tenacious personality or the fact that I didn’t want to let a little insect get the best of me — it doesn’t really matter — I knew if I shoot enough times, sooner or later I’ll get it right. I’m happy to say my persistence paid off. During my walk at a local community garden today, I finally conquered my nemesis!Β  πŸ™‚


42 Comments on “I Finally Conquered My Nemesis

  1. These really are amazing pictures. Such detail, fantastic colours & great focusing. These are truly inspirational photos. Well done indeed & thanks for sharing with us all. πŸ™‚

  2. Beautiful! Congratulations – what great shots! My nemesis is hummingbirds. I tried all summer long to get a good clear shot that I could be proud of, but the little buggers are just too quick for the equipment I have. One day πŸ™‚

  3. Emily… congratulations on getting the photographs you were envisioning. With such gorgeous colors it seems weird saying that I really love the desaturated photographs… but I do πŸ˜‰

  4. each and every one of this photos are amazing, if you’ve been trying long time for this,… i must tell you it was perfectly worth the effort.

    • Hi Filipe. Nice to meet you. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such a nice compliment. Yes, it took me two summers and a couple of bee stings… but I agree, it was worth it. πŸ™‚

  5. Pingback: My Cheap Macro Date | Emily's Photography Blog

  6. Nice macros Emily. I like the composition and colours in the 2nd image most. I really like the 3rd image too. That 3rd image looks like a great one for selective colouring, to bring back the colour of the bee on the all white flower.

    • Thanks for the suggestion Mike. I think it would be a good one for selective coloring. Now, I just have to learn how to do it. πŸ˜‰

    • Hi Katie! Nice to meet you. Thanks for the compliment and visit.
      I used these settings for the images.
      ISO 200 (for all)
      250mm (for all)
      f/6.3 (for #1, 2, 5,6) f/8 (for #3, #4)
      Shutter speed: 1/200 (#1, #2), 1/500 sec (#3, 5), 1/640 sec. (#4), 1/800 sec. (#6)
      Because of the bright sun, I used lower shutter speed than what my camera indicated as being correct so that it would not be over exposed. Later I can fix the light and values in a post-processing software — which I use Adobe Lightroom3. Hope this helps. πŸ™‚

      • Thanks for your response. Wow, at that shutter speed, I’ve never stopped wings of a bee. Great job! πŸ™‚ I agree with underexposing in the bright sun. πŸ™‚ Great photos and thanks for your reply! I truly appreciate it!

  7. These are amazing! Thank you for sharing. I assume you’re using a macro lens (one thing still missing from my camera bag). Was there any special lighting you set up? Or just normal outside, sunny conditions?

    • Thank you Julie for your visit and leaving the nice compliment. πŸ™‚

      The lens is a Tamaron 18-250mm Macro telephoto. It is a great all around lens though not the best, but works well enough and it’s a lot cheaper than a Nikon. The one negative — it only goes to f/6.3 at the longest. So during low light situations it’s not the best lens to use. These shots were taken on a sunny day without any other special lighting.

  8. Nice shots, especially the first one, but I’m pretty sure it’s not a bee, looks like some kind of fly if you look at the head :p

    • There were so many different bee looking insects buzzing around, pollinating the flowers. I just assume they were bees — just different variety. Thanks for the info. now you got me curious. I’ll have to do some research. πŸ™‚

    • I’ll second this. I’ve learned that there are many types of flies that mimic bees. You might want to research the syrphid flies, also called flower flies and hover flies. One genus in Texas that looks like the insect in your last picture is Toxomerus. In any case, I’m glad that you managed to get the sharp insect pictures that had eluded youβ€”and without any stings.

      Steve Schwartzman

  9. Well done Emily. Your persistence paid off. I especially like the details and DoF in the first image.

    • Good to see you Jonathon. I was wondering how you are doing and here you are… thanks for the compliment. I’ll teach you, if you teach me how to do selective coloring. πŸ˜‰

  10. Lovely images. The bee on the middle red flower image (4th from the top) is a beautiful honeybee. With the others, I’m not sure whether they are all bees. The bottom insect looks like it could be a kind of hoverfly or other bee imitating fly – it looks too smooth and not hairy enough to be a bee. In the pic second from bottom it’s sharing the white flower with a bumble bee.

    • Hi Emily, thanks for visiting and sharing the information. I didn’t give it a second thought that there might be some imitation bees. But I think the one in the last photo does look like some kind of fly. I recognize the bumble bee in the 5th photo because that was the kind that stung me last summer. I’ll have to do some more research on the bees.

  11. Your tenacity paid off (I would have called it quits after being stung)! These shots are near perfection. Absolutely love the colors and composition of the first!

    • I didn’t chase them for some time after being stung… but… the joy of the chase. Thanks for the compliment Jolene. πŸ™‚

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