Bee in the Garden, West Sussex

Bumble Bee, West Sussex – August 2021

Bees are harder to photograph than you might think (I’ve written that before – I know). Perhaps informed by Disney and their slightly chubby appearance, I tended to think of them as rather leisurely, but as I tried to follow their movements, I came to realise how purposeful they are: every movement they make is for gathering nectar or moving on to the next flower. They are tireless. And they work without anyone directing them, although I know they do an intricate dance back at the hive to tell other bees where there is nectar.

I don’t think I would be a good bee, but I admire them.

Bumblebee, West Sussex

Bumblebee, Front Garden, West Sussex May 2020
Bumblebee, Front Garden, West Sussex May 2020

Today, I have been trying to photograph bees, which I thought would be an easy subject – but isn’t.

Although they don’t require lengthy travel to locate, or require model releases, there are a number of challenges to be overcome.

Firstly, they are quite small, so you need a close-up lens to be able to see anything.

Secondly, you need to be able to follow when they are and point the camera to the correct place. For some reason I thought they just float about – but on closer observation I am reminded of the phrase “Busy as a bee”. They just zip about!

Thirdly, you need quick reflexes and a fast reacting camera to catch them at the right moment.

I started off using a proper camera, but then changed to my phone because I found it easier to follow movement on the screen and in burst mode, I can choose the “right” moment. There is a sacrifice in quality, but I think it looks – OK.