Get Out of My Face
Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
Fortunately sunflowers have a lot of petals :)
The Mrs. had spotted this creature the night before I shot it, but I waited until morning knowing that it had a really good chance of becoming active. Even though it was a little bit cooler in the morning it was still 24C (around 74F) and I was only able to work with the bee for about 20 minutes before it flew off.
Because of the way the antenna were positioned across the eyes shooting from the side for a portrait was pretty much out. I have a few portrait frames, but I think the antenna are just going to be too distracting. Even if I had focused stacked it the scene still wouldn't work -the antenna would be in focus, but still laying right across the eye. So I went looking for a head on composition that would make the most out of a single frame, the result is the image I've included with this post.
The background was a big concern, and also one of the reasons why I didn't shoot it in place (the background would have been either black or yellow). I selected two books from my wife's collection, one that was orange and one that was dark blue. Both of them had glossy book covers, and the colors of them changed a little under the flash. The critter's fur blended in with the orange background a little too much, so I switched the the blue one and managed a few frames before the bee got tired of me and took off.
Focusing and framing were pretty easy, since I was holding onto the petal with my left index finger and thumb (for the framing) and sliding the lens on my left hand (to focus the scene). I got the mandibles in focus, and then rotated the camera vertically until I could see texture in the bee's forehead. Because the antenna are swept back they fell into the plane of acceptable focus. The trick is to get the subject as parallel to the sensor as possible, so none of the depth is wasted. Easy, it just takes practice.
Until next time, happy shooting :)