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Photography 101: Why Bees Make Amazing Photography Subjects

Bees are among some of the most recognized and well known animals in the world. Everybody knows what a bee is. They’ve encountered them, they’ve seen them on television, and they’ve heard countless stories about them. But despite having all this fame, bees are a massive mystery to a great majority of the population. Ask people some basic questions about bees and you very quickly find that people don’t know the first thing about them, except for the fact that they have stingers. This is why it is so important to photograph and document bees and their behavior. Getting them on camera, in all their fascinating behavior patterns, can make for some of the most stunning images. And on top of that, each one can have a potential story to tell.

Discover What’s In Your Area
When you look at a bee, you might not be able to distinguish it between other bee species. They’re fast moving creatures and incredibly hard to see. If you find a bee staying still, you’re a lucky one. But once they do, you very quickly realize that their colors and their coat can vary greatly. In fact, there is a lot to learn about bees. There are over 25,000 different species of bees on the planet, and they all look a little different from each other. Capturing them on camera allows one to really see what their markings are. This, in turn, tells us where they’re from. Who knows, you might find something absolutely strange. There have been many reports of bees going across the world and finding themselves in the most unlikely of places. You could find an African bee in New York, or a Philippine bee in Cuba. You can have dozens or even hundreds of different species of bees in your area without you even knowing it. The possibilities for flight and crossover are endless with them. And nobody would even know if you didn’t get them on camera.

They’re Great For Macro Photography
Photographing bees is always an impressive venture. It forces you to hone various aspects of your craft, from patience, timing, and keen observation. Some of the best bee photography is done through macro photography. Macro photography is the art of the massive close up. It’s not easy to do, especially with a living creature that’s constantly moving. But when it’s done right, you get to really see the exoskeleton, the details and the curves of this strange animal. Bees, because of their wide range of species, can have very different defining features to them. Some of them are virtually bald, serving best as a study in lighting and reflection. Others are covered in spines or teguments that absorb said light very well.

They’re A Superorganism
Aside from photographing individual bees, you can photograph entire populations of bees at once. The behavior of bees is that of a super organism when they’re all together. They have formations and patterns in their movement. They have stunning geometric patterns in their hives and work in what seems like highly organized chaos. Capturing these patterns and movements requires a tremendous amount of patience to pull off. But when you do, they’re something else entirely. They’re akin to a school of fish moving around a coral reef.

Hives And Honey
Bees are not only great as individual subjects. They produce a full range of wonderful, photogenic products. Just look at natural beehives. When a bee makes a hive, they usually make it on rock crevices and knot holes in trees. They do this by chewing on natural wax until it becomes soft enough to mold. When they do so, they mold it into a 6-tubed structure and fill it with hexagonal storage units for food storage and larval protection. This study in organic shapes and natural food production is both beautiful and unique to these animals. Capturing it on camera gives a photographer a chance to really observe and find the right moment or angle to accentuate the organic forms bees can produce. And each species of bee makes a slightly different hive based on the materials and the temperature of the area.

Overall, photographing bees is a pursuit of passion. It’s a step in furthering one’s craft, while at the same time choosing subjects that provoke some uncommon thoughts. Capturing the sheer complexity of how they live, a dozen species deep within an area, interspersed within their own complicated social hives, is the kind of stuff that inspires new photographers. And what better way to get people to pay more attention than to put out more amazing content?

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Photography 101: Why Bees Make Amazing Photography Subjects

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