I said I’d never do it again. I didn’t. Really I didn’t. I haven’t been back to that other hive in William Land Park since that last day I did the shooting. THIS is an all NEW hive in an entirely different place. So the temptation to shoot it was great but not a violation of my solemn wordf. Well, not a TRUE violation, right???
This hive was much harder to get to. The branch that broke off was about 7 1/2 feet off the ground and the hole faced outward but wasn’t deep too the back; it went up and down parallel to the trunk and neither end was the slightest bit visible using the telephoto lens from a safe distance. But 7 1/2 feet is just about the extreme of my reach and I did have the Panasonic TZ4 over my shoulder and waiting. All the attempted shots that had a chance were taken by it.
I walked up rather boldly since I wasn’t at the level of the hive access and was promptly bumped in the back of the head by two incoming bees. A very gentle wave of my hand overhead and they departed, probably disoriented from the new obstruction in their flight paths. Up against the tree, I could hear the deep sound of buzzing and accurately guess this place was a lot bigger than it seemed.
Nothing worked for a while because I tried to shoot without the flash and too far from the inside of the hive. And between each attempt, I had to back off and let the guardian bees calm back down. Finally I got my hand into the hole and used the flash. Not good. But I can’t say ‘not expected’. Out came all the guardians and a cluster of just plain mad bees. I back away slowly waving my left hand over my head (like it would ward off evil or some such rot) and about 20 feet away, everybody went their own direction. I looked at the shot and saw that the camera focused on a wall, and a burnt one at that. LOL! OK, let’s try again and risk the flash once more. Another perfect shot of nothing interesting but the reflected light showed me what I couldn’t see before: there was another comb at the top of the hole and it was quite full and swarming too. Aaarrrghhhhh!!!! :-O
Seems I’d been bumping into the top comb for a while but those bees had been pretty darn patient with me. LOL!
OK, now that I know the lay of the land, I can slip the camera into the hold at an angle and get the bottom comb with the bees in it, which is what you see here. The entire camera was in the hive because the bottom hive was so deep into the tree I couldn’t get the light on it because of the location of the flash relative to the lens at the focal point of “nothing and less than nothing”. :-D Then to get the camera aimed blindly as well took a lot of flash shots – maybe 20 – and I never got more than three before the bees swarmed me again.
In the end, two fair shots but for what it took, I’m hella happy I got them without a single sting. Woo hoo!
Camera: Panasonic TZ4
Location: Crosswoods Park, Citrus Heights, California (outside Sacramento)
Fear factor: about 5 and getting better with each hive.
KIDS! DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS! IT IS DANGEROUS AND CAN LEAD TO SERIOUS INJURY!