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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Hall, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    142

    Default Ok. So you folks with great pictures, what are your secrets?

    I'm a pretty good photographer with normal subjects. I'm new to photographing bees.

    So, I tried a really big lens on a tripod today, and was unhappy with the results.

    Specifically, I was using a 100-200 mm lens, but a fairly cheap one at 4.5. I had the lens at 200, so the F-stop was at 4.5. Tripod, and the fastest exposure I could get. Looking at a rosemary bush in full bloom with 5 or 6 foragers on it.

    I just couldn't get anything special. The autofocus on the camera was wonky (rosemary sprawls, there this lens has an incredibly shallow depth of field). Manual focus was a real challenge. Even with normal sunlight I didn't feel my exposures were fast enough. (that's the 4.5 biting me... I know I can buy a $2000 lens to fix this problem, but I hope you guys give me another way).

    Anthecologist: I would love to hear your setup. Your pictures rule.

    I've got a 50 mm fast lens. Is this what I should be using right up in the bee's faces? I was using a telephoto because I had heard that would eliminate distortions.

    Generally: what is your go-to setup for action bee photography? Tell about lenses, shooting strategy, tripods, accessories and the like.

    Thanks!

    Attached: my best version of today's best photo. Cropped and color balanced. 85% JPEG quality. rosemary for upload.jpg I'm wanting a lot better than this.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    6,640

    Default Re: Ok. So you folks with great pictures, what are your secrets?

    It is hard to say. Sometimes it is the angle of the lights.
    I just put my 7.1 MP digi cam on Macro auto focus mode. It will
    automatically adjust to the bee surrounding all on still pics anyways.
    Does it has auto focus on yours too?
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Hall, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: Ok. So you folks with great pictures, what are your secrets?

    My camera has pretty good autofocus, but this particular lens was a real challenge. I had the same issue photographing bees on the landing board... the camera would get the hive in focus, but the bee would be a blur. I ended up focusing manually a few inches in front of the hive, and then shot 100 pictures hoping to get lucky. I didn't... they all stunk.

    I think more light (to solve the shutter speed issue) and a smaller F-stop (to fix depth of field). I'll have to figure how to do that.

    When you guys shoot a bee on a flower, how close are you? A foot? 3 feet?. My 200mm lens has a minimum of 1.4 meters, which was keeping me pretty far away.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    6,640

    Default Re: Ok. So you folks with great pictures, what are your secrets?

    It depends because my main focus is to get the bees on cam while the oppty is still there. Within seconds the
    bee will be gone. You have to be quick and get your cam ready on focus and snap away. Though usually I'll be within
    2-5 feet from the bee and flower. Sometimes closer too just to get some good bee pics. You'll have to try it out in order to
    find the proper distance and focal point. It took me quite some time to find my focus on my digi cam.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Rome, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Ok. So you folks with great pictures, what are your secrets?

    1. calm day- wind kills both manual and auto focus for me
    2. tripod - just works out better than my less than steaady hands
    3. remote shutter release (corded) keeps me from shaking tripod
    4. sports mode or similar on camera- the one where it shoots like a machine gun several frames per second
    5. highest zoom lense you have @ max zoom

    with all this I take a lot of pictures then sift through them all and find I usually have a handful of decent ones and a bunch to delete. the multi frame mode inevitably catches one or more bees acting or moving in a way i would not be able to anticipate.

    The tripod and remote shutter release also let me take high res pics of frames during a hive inspection- I end up seeing more after the fact on my computer than i did "live" with 56 year old eyes lol. Set up correctly I am able to occasionally see mites on individual bees as well as eggs in the worst lighting conditions.DSC_2772.jpg

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