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Tip Toes

By DinkyDoo
Bee.n out in the garden today big game hunting. This chap was captured snacking on the quince bush. This is the next Gallery Upload for me in the learning process hopefully taking into account all the kind words, encouragement and advice given in my last submission. I have uploaded a few of todays images to my portfolio but chose to add this image to the Gallary as I particularly liked this image of this chubby bee on its tip toes trying to get the last tiny drop that others had missed. Do I get away with his head out of shot?

So Ive tried to properly expose this shot and avoided so much OOF! Ive still centred the AF and have chosen a faster shutter speed and remind myself to stand a little further back. The point and shoot technique ive adopted has resulted in more success on the focus front and as the frame includes more detail I can crop the shot to suit. Im used a polarising filter to try and soften the light a bit as my ND8 resulted in the shots being well underexposed. What do you think?

Tags: Close-up and macro Garden insects bugs nature


dudler Plus
17 1.2k 1680 England
25 Apr 2020 10:24PM
OK. You've ended up with a slightly higher shutter speed, but the same aperture - f/5.6 is the maximum on that lens at the long end, and it's not a great choice. Ditch the polarising filter (which is costing you two stops or so, and you could have shot at f/11, with great benefits to sharpness.

And an ND8 filter? Really? I can envisage, possibly, a blurry, creative wildlife shot with one, but as a general rule I'd say don't even think of it.You didn't mention it in your last Critique Gallery upload, and it is VERY much to the point!

This kind of shot is enough of a challenge without any sort of reduction in light levels. And neither an ND8 nor a polarising filter will soften the light in any way , I'd suggest. Shoting straight and unfiltered will be best for this sort of shot.

As for getting away with the head deep in the flower: as part of a set of two or three pictures, with heads visible in the others, maybe. As a single shot, probably not.

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mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.2k 2248 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2020 11:45AM
Polarising filter? ND 8?? Not the way to go, you need to think about making good use of available light rather than cutting it out of the camera. Angle, time of day, exposure compensation, sensitive processing - these are the factors to consider as well of course as your settings.

If you need to shoot in bright overhead sunshine in order to get the bees, consider roping in an accomplice (at the moment that needs to be a household member ) to hold a diffuser in place near the flowers, to soften direct light. A piece of gauze or muslin, stretched over a ring of light cane will work. Then be patient and wait... Needs some careful coordination, but we have time on our hands at present...

Modification prepared - shadows lifted slightly, highlights darkened, contrast reduced, a bit of gentle dodging and burning, some sharpening on the central flower. F11 would have given a better result there, I think.
pamelajean Plus
14 1.4k 2149 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2020 4:22PM

Quote:Do I get away with his head out of shot?

You can be forgiven because you are, the the time being, responding to critique and attempting to get better insect shots. However, it's good that you ask the question because it means that you realise it would be better if the head were visible.

Choosing which flower to have your bee come to is therefore important for when you have everything else right and you want to produce some spectacular bee shots. You can, if you are patient, choose the flower and wait for the bee to come to it. But a flower with a large trumpet or bowl, where the nectar is at the end of a funnel, will tend to give you pictures of the back-end of the bee! As you have discovered.

Flatter flowers, small buds and blossom, which the bee is unable to climb into, will provide a better angle to get side-on or even head-on shots of your subjects. But remember that on a head-on shot, even at small apertures, the whole of the beet will not be in focus, so take care, however daft it may sound, to focus on the eyes. The eyes lend a dramatic connection between them and us. If that's too difficult, just focus on the head.

HERE is a short EPZ article about photographing insects.

Overread 12 4.1k 19 England
26 Apr 2020 8:46PM
Head down bum(stinger) in the air is quite common for feeding bees at flowers and proves to be quite the challenge to get a good shot of unless you want that bum in the air. In general I would say there are a few tricks you can use to help yourself out in that regard when insect hunting:
1) Early morning and evening. Not only is the light often softer and easier to work with than harsher midday light; but the insects are also often more restful. In the morning they are torpid and chilled from the night; whilst in the evening they are looking for places to rest up. This can make it easier to get photos of bees doing other things than purely feeding.

2) Wait for the rain. A quick shower on an otherwise clear day can suddenly cause bees and other larger bugs to crash down. The rain basically chills them very quickly and they run out of energy and have to rest up to recover. Thus it makes it an ideal time to, again, catch them when they are a bit easier to get a shot of.

3) Bait - this can be used for some bugs. Rotten fruit is a good one that is commonly used; whilst when it comes to critters like moths some will use a wine-rope (string soaked in wine). NOTE for bees do NOT use honey. Honey from a different hive can be toxic to other bees (so I've read). Sugar water though is typically considered fairly safe.
Of course you can also use natural baits and lures as noted above; identifying popular feeding plants and then setting yourself up and waiting. This can be time consuming, but it has the bonus of bringing the insects to you so you can have some control over your position and the subject area position.

A Circular Polarizer isn't a bad choice, it can help cut down on some reflections in harsh lighting (on non-metallic surfaces). It can certainly help to take the edge off reflections and the like. That said if you're purely using it because of the strong lighting and exposure concerns then don't forget your camera has a huge range of shutter speeds and you can kick them up faster and faster for this kind of photography without any issue.
What it won't help with is the powerful highlights and very dark shadowing that you get with stronger directional light (such as the sun around midday etc...). Again this is where earlier/later working or even some cloud can really help out. As noted if you can get some help you can have someone hold a cloth barrier to block out the sun - at which point its acting just like a cloud would in diffusing the light and enlarging the surface area of the light sources relative to the subject big sheet is, relative to the subject, larger than tiny pin-point of powerful sunlight.
chase Plus
14 1.7k 417 England
27 Apr 2020 2:55PM
A polariser and an ND8 ? you are losing far too much here.
The time of day and the angle of your camera are the two important factors, harsh light will reflect from the petals of a flower.
I would suggest photographing Bees much later or even earlier in the day, better still with a cloudy sky...natures' natural diffuser.
Not quite so much OOF as your privies image but for me....a bttm shot is not the most pleasing.
dark_lord Plus
16 2.6k 684 England
27 Apr 2020 5:13PM
A bit latet o this, but you don't need any filter that cuts down the amount of light. A polariser doesn't soften light.
Neither filter would have a positive outcome here.
A reflector help put detail in the shadows, or at least make it easier to retrieve it in software.
You're going to have to crop using your lens as it's not intended for such close work, though I see your reasoning for cropping in as it's easier to lacate the insect in a wider field of view. With practice you'll get in closer and if a proper macro lens is out of the question you can use a close up lens on the front of your current lens so you can focus closer, though I'd reccommend you use f/11 as depyh of field is minimal.

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