05 December 2010

Honeybee and harakeke (NZ flax)

Honeybees foraged in the morning sun, paying plenty of attention to the harakeke flowers. Clearly, pollen was one of the attractions, with a bonus being whatever nectar they could extract from the long, tubular flowers.

[4 December 2010, Canon 20D, 300 mm f4 L IS, ISO 400, 1/1250 at f4.5]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor


leonie said...

Wow. Stunning Pete.


pohanginapete said...

Thanks again, Leonie :^)

Paul said...

Bokeh AND depth of field are perfect in this photo. Truly top-notch capture, especially with the added bonus of the pollen.

Paul said...

I also wanted to say that apart from the obvious merits of this photograph, I couldn’t help but being drawn to this wee fellow’s eye(s) and the *look* on his *face*. I couldn’t help but wonder: What does a bee think? How does he think, process thought, assume intelligence? What is the extent of his awareness of self and his surroundings? If I could experience the mind of a bee for a brief time, I wonder how that would affect me for the rest of my life, and how differently I would then view ALL life after that experience. If only I could be a bee -- a new me, for a day, two or even three!

Relatively Retiring said...

Such a warming sight amid the frost and slush of an English morning.
I agree with Paul about the look of intent on that tiny face (and I try not to 'do' anthopomorphology!)
Paul: have you read T.H.White's 'Sword in the Stone'?

Tim Koppenhaver said...

Terrific shot. Even caught the glint in the eye. Nicely done.

pohanginapete said...

Paul — your previous comment encouraged me to try harder. Thanks! Also, like you, that question about what it's like to "be" another animal fascinates me. Actually, it gnaws at me. I watch the kahu (hawk) circling and try to imagine what it's seeing, what it feels like to be supported by the air, to feel the wind on my feathers, to see the land below in such acute detail; I see a magpie fly low over the fence, lift up over the native passionvine and drop down out of sight, and I try to imagine being that bird in flight, carving up the air with what seems to be delight in the sheer ecstasy of being so accomplished at flying. But it's all imagination and educated guesswork based on a little of the little we know about how birds think. How much more difficult, then, to know, truly, what it's like to be a bee? What wouldn't I give for that kind of understanding?
   P.S. not wishing to be pedantic, but all worker honeybees are female; the sting is a modified ovipositor. However, I doubt they have any concept of gender — my guess is their overriding compulsion is to work. Work, work, work, until, after a short life, they die :^(

RR, thank you :^) Now I'll have to investigate White's book. I've heard it mentioned, often, but hadn't paid it any attention.
   I trust you're coping well with that weather? I imagine the novelty of such a picturesque landscape must wear off quickly.

Thanks Tim. Actually, I became particularly aware of the light as I photographed — as the bees flew between shade and sunlight the difference in visual impact was huge.

Barbara said...

Late, I know, but I have to chime in and say 'Wow!' Reading Hattie Ellis's "Sweetness and Light:The Mysterious History of the Honeybee" gave me just enough scientific background on these incredible creatures and my admiration has not dimmed a bit. Their engineering skills are beyond stunning. For awhile I was able to purchase local honey from a beekeeper who included a slice of the comb in the jar and once, after the honey had drained out of that 3"x1"x1" slice I melted it. The wax amounted to about one tablespoon! The only thing sweeter than acknowledging their prowess are the several times one of them has landed on me or my book as I've sat outside reading! Wonderful, wonderful photo, Pete.

pohanginapete said...

Barbara, thank you! I wasn't aware of Hattie Ellis's book, but I'll look for it in the library. With any of these tiny animals, the more one finds out about them, the more astonishing they seem. I imagine they could provide an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

Paul said...

@ Relatively Retiring: No, I haven’t read the book although I know a little about the story due to the Disney production. Albeit a little different in concept, I remember reading Adams’ Watership Down many years ago and was quite intrigued by that type of anthropomorphic story telling.
@ Pete: Thanks for the clarification. Actually I did wonder about that while writing the comment, but hastily (and erroneously) conjectured that the queen was the only female. However, now I remember my grade-school science where a worker bee (a sort of imperfect or incomplete female) can become a queen after having been fed that magical substance, royal jelly.