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How a Bee's Tongue Works

By brian1208
For most this will be a "So What" image but for me (and I hope other macro-nuts) its something very special

For many years I have been watching and photographing how bees feed with shots of the tongue out, feeding, leaving or entering the flower and so on but never captured the shot I really wanted, to show how the complex tongue (made of seven parts) splits and collapses to pack into the mouth (it usually shows as a tube, sometimes if you are lucky as a tube with little feelers on the end)

In this series of shots, obtained over the last two days I have managed to do this - at last!

They may lack something technically but I would ask you to remember this all happens in micro seconds, as the bee is moving and so it has to be shot hand-held "on the go" - you don't get a second chance Wink

(for anyone who wants to know the detailed anatomy this may be of interest

Tags: Bee Feeding Close-up and macro Tongue Wildlife and nature

Voters: ali63, johnke, JawDborn and 11 more

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ali63 Plus
6 775 1 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2013 7:55PM
Brian, so very interesting, I am so pleased you managed to get all the shots you wanted, you must have the patience of a saint.


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johnke 5 223 15
4 Jun 2013 8:06PM
Absolutely sensational Brian, stunning work and very very well captured. Congratulations on this work and for sharing some nature you would not normally see...John
JawDborn Plus
6 1.1k 1 England
4 Jun 2013 8:38PM
Sure is something special!
adrianl 13 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2013 9:24PM
Not a fan or expert in this, but i found the picture great with all the details. Especially the white dots which i suppose is pollen.
Great capture, not only for the fact that you had to have loads of patience and failure to pull this trough.
Got my vote for it!
JayneL 7 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2013 9:38PM
Incredible photo Brian, and having tried to get some bee shots myself this week, I know how fast they dart around, I don't know how you do it!
cats_123 Plus
14 4.8k 28 Northern Ireland
4 Jun 2013 10:01PM
Quite amazing..not least that you got so close Smile Smile Smile
brian1208 Plus
14 11.4k 12 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2013 11:12PM
thanks for the positive comments, as I thought, its not for everyone but its nice to see others interested in this rather specialised field of work.

Ali, thanks for my Award Smile I'm one of the most impatient photographers around and if I can't get the shot in 15 mins maximum I'm off doing something else (one of the joys of filming in the garden)

Jayne, as we discussed last week, the key to this I find is knowing your subject and subjects, where they are going to be, how they will behave and pre-thinking the shot(s) and this only comes with experience. The actual photography is then relatively simple. This series for example was done in 3 or 4 short burst when I noticed the bees had started feeding on the Loganberry blossoms. They were only going to the newly opened blossoms so that cut down the amount of area to cover. As you know I have restricted access to get to the shooting positions so that cut down the options further then it was just a case of selecting one of 4 locations and waiting a few minutes - simples Wink
xGei8ht 9 69 United Kingdom
5 Jun 2013 12:05AM
Stunning image, love macro

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