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02-06-2015, 07:23 AM   #1
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Project bee study

I'm about to help with a new native bee project - look on Facebook for the Native Bee Awareness Initiative. I'm in the same area with the founders, and have offered them any of my photos. Field macro with my FA100 I can do, but I want to set up a reversed-lens or stack setup for them if they need to photograph collected insects. Lighting I can handle with a simple softbox or diffusers. If anyone has a quick link for how to set up the system I'd appreciate it. I know there's some guys on FB and Youtube I'll look into as well.

I also may look for some bellows.

02-06-2015, 07:30 AM   #2
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I'd start by figuring out the desired magnification, which will depend on the size of the bees and also the shooting conditions -- will this be live specimens in the field?

Putting the A50/1.7 on a bellows would be a low-cost way of getting a continuous range of magnifications up to 3:1. But putting a Raynox 250 on your 100mm macro would be a pretty convenient way of getting to around 2:1.
02-06-2015, 07:45 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
I'm about to help with a new native bee project - look on Facebook for the Native Bee Awareness Initiative.

If anyone has a quick link for how to set up the system I'd appreciate it. I know there's some guys on FB and Youtube I'll look into as well.
Sounds like this project merits its own thread. Interesting topics, both the technique and the subject.
02-06-2015, 11:21 AM   #4
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I'm going to figure out just what they want to do. I can do great field macro with the FA100, at least for the larger subjects. The smallest ones are mere millimeters long, nearly impossible to see much of the time. Real census work uses traps. If they want to do that, the bellows or reversed lenses are best - unless they have some stage microscope they plan to use.
This project is in its infancy, I'm going to try to attend their planning meeting later this month. Please find and like them on Facebook!

02-24-2015, 06:31 AM   #5
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https://www.facebook.com/nativebeeawareness

We had the second planning meeting Feb 21st. It was the first I attended. It's a mixture of entomologists, habitat specialists, and interested volunteers. I added to the conversation and planning, and feel pretty good about some of my technical knowledge. In addition to some online presence, we will be putting together toolkits for educators, gardeners, and photographers. We're just now starting to define several categories of plans to follow up. It's interesting, and I'm sure it will prove useful for people.

I did buy a Pentax auto bellows A from someone after the meeting, since I was nearly downtown anyway. That should be fun to play with.
02-24-2015, 08:23 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
https://www.facebook.com/nativebeeawareness
I did buy a Pentax auto bellows A from someone after the meeting, since I was nearly downtown anyway. That should be fun to play with.
A bellows would be fun, but only if the bees are immobilized or dead.
02-24-2015, 08:41 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
A bellows would be fun, but only if the bees are immobilized or dead.
There are some collections which need to be photographed in detail. The bellows would be useful for this. And if you can collect them alive, you can cool insects down a bit so they're sluggish which gives you a chance to photograph - but you have to be careful to not kill them. Often, unfortunately, for studies bee traps are used to collect specimens. Many species cannot be identified without essentially dissecting them, or manipulating them in ways not nice if they're alive.

I am going to build some houses for cavity-nesting bees like mason and leafcutters, and maybe I can use the bellows to get images of mama bee as she stocks her hole with supplies for the grubs.
02-24-2015, 01:37 PM   #8
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Be sure to post some photos.

02-24-2015, 01:45 PM   #9
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I need to make a sub-folder in Flickr for what I have regarding the little native bees. I'll link to some of those here once I get a few minutes at home.

Maybe even I can do some video with the bellows of bees coming and going if I get some nesting.
02-24-2015, 01:46 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
Maybe even I can do some video with the bellows of bees coming and going if I get some nesting.
Sounds tricky given the shallow DOF.
02-24-2015, 01:59 PM   #11
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Yeah, I'm getting way ahead of myself. The advantage I'd have - and maybe the bellows are completely unnecessary for this - is the nest box (holes in wood) is fixed, allowing a tripod and lighting.
04-01-2015, 05:00 PM   #12
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I have a draft of a simple photography text I've written for the initiative. If you'd like to help, I will email it to you for review. I'm trying to help those with little to no experience and who may not have specialized equipment.
05-05-2015, 06:08 AM   #13
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Nat Geo posted an interesting article on bees.

Beautiful, Intimate Portraits of Bees -- National Geographic

There are some interesting articles linked on the right side of this page:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/10/pictures/121011-blue-honey-h...imals-science/

Last edited by audiobomber; 05-05-2015 at 06:25 AM.
05-05-2015, 08:57 AM   #14
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Sam Droege is a rock star in this area. Those are definitely links to include, thanks.
I have a slider but have never tried the stitching technique. I do know people who regularly stack dozens of images collected in the field.

When you're chasing live bees as they feed you're stuck with what you get - and need to prepare accordingly.
05-05-2015, 09:27 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
When you're chasing live bees as they feed you're stuck with what you get - and need to prepare accordingly.
That's the big difference between what you and he are doing. Stacking requires a dead bee. I've often thought of getting a macro rail, but most anything I shoot is in the field, so not very practical.
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