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Coming out, going in: The Return To The Hive by Lenny La Rue, IPA

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Coming out, going in: The Return To The Hive by 


Oh well, sometimes you goof and this shoot was a goof. I had it planned out so well too but forgot one small detail. The Nikon D80 was on a tripod with the 55-200 telephoto lens aimed dead centre into the hole on the tree. I used the remote to trigger it while I used the Panasonic to move all the way over the hive and shoot video. What was SUPPOSED to happen was I’d get a photographic record of my shooting the video from less than 2 inches from the hive using a macro setting. I’d get some still from that distance too if I was feeling brave. What HAPPENED was I forgot the D80’s focus was too tight on the opening of the hive and it completely missed or didn’t show the other camera or my hand. Arrgh!

But taking so many shots in a row DID shed so light on the entire hive. First and most important was that I couldn’t see bees disappearing into the cracks in the bark of the tree without shots less than one second apart and very close. While I though there was one way into the hive, there are actually at least two additional ways – one of them under my hand in the previous shot! This time, my hand wasn’t covering the way out for the bees not using the main entrance and they came out to find something new in their way. I had a sweat shirt with significantly tighter opening but they wound up all over it rather quickly. I was able to gently remove them but it took a while to figure out the problem – like, only after I was back home. :-|

Second interesting thing was the bee dance was obvious on the bark outside the hole. I was able to watch the twists and turns while a circle of bees learned the positions of the nectar and pollen. And by watching, I was able to distinguish two different locations, wherever they actually were. (Remember, I’m neither a bee nor good at reading bee dances.) I think you can even see the different pollen sources in the colours the bees are carrying. This also explained the other half of the constant bumping into me: the bees that followed the instructions were the ones who took off from the circle but the instructions didn’t account for a dumb human and a camera in the immediate path. It would appear that bees aren’t using a whole lot of sight when taking off; they’re probably trying to remember all those damn twists and turns with brains the size of pin heads.

Third, there are no bees that look an different from each other so it appears that all are just plain, common but rare honeybees. However, using the quick shooting of the Panasonic TZ-4, I was now able to recognize who was coming and going and who was just watching me. Again, I only figured this out at home but it helped explain why I was attacked twice. Still no stings but it wasn’t fun being chased around a bit by a single hive protector two times.

Now I’m faced with a dilemma. I can’t brace myself against the tree now because I know there will be bees coming out where my hands are. I also can’t offer amended flight plans avoiding my camera hand for bees heading for the pollen using the right flight plans. I can correct the D80 composition issue but my last time of ignorant luck has come and gone. I think I know too much now to be calm not knowing if there are two more exits or TEN more exits. Odds are, I’m done with this one. Let me amend that: I’M DONE WITH THIS ONE.

Ladybugs, geese, squirrels, and now bees have been The Gonzo Photographer’s target face-to-face subjects. I think I’ll aim for ants or unusual mud formations that resemble faces until I can pull my heart out of my throat. Then I might graduate to pill bugs. Yeah. That seems safe enough.

PS Without the flash, you couldn’t see much definition of the bees or the hive. I didn’t want to use it but wasn’t afraid to with the telemacro possibility preventing any fears of spooking even more ‘watcher’ bees.

I’m a “scatter-focus” artist. ANYTHING may be here or roundabout my galleries. Expect nothing anywhere and you’ll always be OK. ;-)

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  • margaretfraser
    margaretfraseralmost 6 years ago

    great capture

  • Thank you!

    – Lenny La Rue, IPA

  • CLiPiCs
    CLiPiCsalmost 6 years ago

    that is an amazing shot Lenny !

    and I am surprised you were brave enough to get in there with them

    fascinated by the whole Bee Dance thing and that you were able to distinguish two seperate routines too, brilliant

    BIG BRAVO for this

    Love ‘N’ Laughter


  • Thanks! Getting in there with them wasn’t all that hard until I knew how stupid it was. Not gonna happen again. :-D The bee dance thing was so obvious it wasn’t funny. Anyone would recognize the action and watching long enough, anyone would be able to tell there were two dances. What was cool was seeing the bees come back from different directions with different pollens.

    But note: this shot is from the D80 on the (now stolen) tripod. You can tell because of the mild flash I wouldn’t have dared up close with either that camera or the TZ4. I just wish bee facial hair and some pollens weren’t so reflective. I tried to knock that down with editing but the rest of the shot lost all life if I did it. Bummer.

    – Lenny La Rue, IPA

  • AmandaWitt
    AmandaWittalmost 6 years ago

    Amazing! Keep ‘beeing’ brave.

  • Beeing brave days just ended, babe! I got The Shot and I know too much now to risk this sort of collective challenge again. But thanks!

    – Lenny La Rue, IPA

  • CraigsMom
    CraigsMomalmost 6 years ago

    Ahhh, Lenny. You never fail to make me smile…Interesting mud does seem like it would come next!

  • Lenny La Rue, IPA
    Lenny La Rue, IPAalmost 6 years ago

    LOL! Thanks. :-) I already did a mud shot and it’s in here but there’s a lot more mud around lately, none of which I need to drive to…

  • babybird1937
    babybird1937almost 6 years ago

    Great capture and commentary Lenny! Quite interesting. As a small girl I was bit by a swarm of bees from head to toe by disturbing their nest unknowingly. I can still remember running and yelling as the bees were chasing me. It was not pleasant. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • Thank you but Good GRIEF!!!! I’m surprised you can even look at bees like this again. :-O Being small and stung a lot probably had doctors very, very concerned about you. I’m very happy you survived the experience with both your body and mind intact. If these gals had come after me, I probably could have outrun the “attack zone” for most but nowhere near enough not to be seriously hurting. I tried hard not to think about that. In fact, I tried hard not to think at all. :-D

    – Lenny La Rue, IPA

  • handprintz
    handprintzalmost 6 years ago

    Wow ! thats amazing , a real upclose and personal shot !! they are such amazing little creatures with such purpose and tenacity ! well done Lenny, l don’t know whether l would ever be quite this game !

  • They look a lot smaller then they did with my hand inches from the hive. LMAO! Thankfully, as you said, they had a purpose and I wasn’t in it! :-D

    – Lenny La Rue, IPA

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