They have no respect for the aspiring photographer with limited autofocus options.
All too often, they will wait patiently until you have finally beaten the camera into submission, forced it to acknowledge that OK, maybe there is something on that flower worth taking a picture of, and then gleefully make a break for it, so you are left with this:
I have approximately 30 trillion photos identical to that one. Which I neglected to delete as I went, and then idiotically uploaded to the computer, and had to delete each defeat manually, one at a time.
I decided that I needed to formulate a plan, so I went and got a chair, and found myself a nice flower in the sunshine to train my focus on. The theory was that a) the direct sunlight would make for a faster shutter speed, and b) if I was very patient, eventually a bee would pick my flower to land on and I’d be all ready for him.
The fatal flaw, of course, was that there were only four bees buzzing around this particular bush, and maybe 248 gazillion flowers to choose from:
And then my arms started to get achy so I gave in and photographed some blades of grass, which are polite enough to sit still when someone is taking their picture.
On my way back to the house a huge bee hovered right in front of me, and out of pity landed long enough for my camera to figure out what was going on:
But, you know me, pretty good means not quite perfect. I had decided for no particular reason whatsoever that I wanted a picture of a bee on a pink flower, and a picture of a bee on a not-yet-flowering bush just wasn’t going to cut it.
Next day, back out there snapping pictures of “flowers where a bee was just a second ago”.
They keep buzzing right over my head, which is both irritating, as they are taunting me with their nearness, and disconcerting, even though I’m pretty sure these fat fuzzy ones don’t sting.
Then I catch sight of what I’m pretty sure is a stinging bee, and I get a little panicky because this is the first one I’ve seen this year, I didn’t think they were out and about yet. I am not a bee expert by any means but I am not taking any chances, nope, don’t want any part of that action, so I put the camera down and set my water glass over the little vicious brute.
Oops. Turns out you can’t leave a bee under glass in the hot sun for too long. So he was easy to photograph, but no sense of victory here:
Yep, if you look closely you can see his little nasty stinger:
Another day goes by and I am out with Cassidy; I am clucking and shaking my head because the flowers on the bush are definitely beginning to fade, and I have to accept that maybe one needs a manual focus camera to do bee photography. This causes a disturbance in the universe that brings the planets into alignment and I become one with the bee, who condescends for one moment to land right in front of the camera:
“O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
I chortled in my joy.
Victory is mine!
I’m sorry- Hold on a second- Is that the bee’s tongue?
Bees have tongues? I am delighted and appalled.
Next up: photographing the elusive Blackbutt the squirrel.
No other squirrel will do.
The above quote is from Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky”, which can be found in Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There. You can read the rest of the poem here if you like.
At one point, I came back into the house to get a glass of water (ultimately condemning one poor bugger to death). Makes a girl thirsty, bee photography. My husband was watching a Phillies game on TV:
“What have you been doing?” he asked suspiciously.
To which I admitted honestly, “Taking pictures of bees,” which elicited zero reaction one way or another.
Because my family, at this point, thinks it is perfectly normal for me to spend over an hour outside taking pictures of bees.
Three days in a row.
I don’t know, am I to find that charming? Or alarming?