IV Mining Bees - your thoughts, please


Link Posted 11/09/2022 - 15:32
Four (IV) of the Ivy Mining Bees currently dining out, along with a myriad of other insects, on the flowers of the Ivy bush in the lane outside our house. These charming little critters only arrived in the UK in 2001, since when they spread throughout the Southern England (link).

All images were shot handheld with an Irix 150mm Macro mounted on a K3iii (one using natural daylight and three with supplementary off-camera flash and DIY beauty dish).

Curious to know if they have appeal and which, if any, would rate as the 'stand out' shot and, ideally why.



Link Posted 11/09/2022 - 15:42
Nice set, prefer 2 and 4 .(i'm a sucker for an insect eye) ... althought 4 is a bit dark and 2 is nicely lit but IMO needs a better crop to make the bee the more prominent in the frame.

Great detail though.
. My Flickr
Last Edited by Mike-P on 11/09/2022 - 15:42



Link Posted 11/09/2022 - 17:11
I like them especially 2. Seems very cuddly

My Flickr page



Link Posted 11/09/2022 - 17:32
I too would chose 2, mainly for the good frontal detail and overall sharpness.

My goodness, I wish I could get such fine images hand-held!
A few of my photographs in flickr.
Lizars 1910 "Challenge" quarter-plate camera; and some more recent stuff.



Link Posted 11/09/2022 - 17:48
While i like number one, as in the struggle to surmount. No 2 has the mission accomplished and a stunning photo it has produced.



Link Posted 11/09/2022 - 19:20
All excellent but my favourite is no.4, and if zoomed in, in effect cropped, I see perfect balance of bokeh and subject. IMHO. Wish I could get such sharp shots.



Link Posted 11/09/2022 - 19:21
Hey! Another Irix 150mm user!!

No. 2 with the bottom row of buds cropped off. And No. 4 with the left hand row of buds cropped off. The centres of the clusters of buds, from which the stalks radiate outwards, draws the (or at least my) eye and distracts from the bee. No. 3 would work better if there were more space above the bee, it seems rather squashed against the edge of the frame.




Link Posted 11/09/2022 - 19:40
What Mike-P says. These are seriously good images.
Be well, stay safe.



Link Posted 11/09/2022 - 19:51
As in-focus photos of a bee, they are all superb, but I found (before reading any comments) that my eye was drawn first to the greenery and only afterwards to the bee - almost like "These are nice photos. Oh, look, there's a bee as well!" But your technique in capturing the bee in focus is great!



Link Posted 13/09/2022 - 10:26
These are all top class images IMO - handheld images don't often offer this much clarity, you have great technique.



Link Posted 13/09/2022 - 15:00
All excellent images...!!
K-1Gripped K-1 ungripped K-5ii K7 Various lenses




Link Posted 13/09/2022 - 19:29
All your comments are much appreciated.

Whilst I quite often post to the Gallery, I have very rarely submitted my images and invited constructive criticism on this or any other forum. It is reassuring, then, to learn that I am not entirely delusional in believing that in the years since I first became interested in photography (early 1970s) I have progressed and achieved a degree of technical proficiency in close-focus/macro photography and, by inference, the processing of my RAW images.

The comments made regarding my image cropping choices are well-made and helpful. With this particular set I did indeed struggle with the cropping primarily for the reason identified: my fascination both with the bees and the structure and geometry of the ivy flower heads on which they were feeding. Although this was not something I was fully conscious of at the time of editing, I can now thanks to your input, certainly see and understand how this might cause the viewer confusion when attempting to identify the main subject and hence purpose of the finished image.

With regard to the comment of Lubbyman,
Hey! Another Irix 150mm user!!

of my three macro lenses, the others being a Pentax DFA 100mm and a Sigma EX DG 70mm, the Irix is the one I find most satisfying in use, due to its heft, quality of construction, ease of focus and the manner in which it renders colours and OOF highlights.

My next favourite would be the Sigma which is similarly well constructed, but more compact and with the benefit of AF. Its rendition of colours is less spectacular (more neutral?), but it loses nothing in terms of sharpness when compared with the Irix and 'pips it' IMO, albeit not by much, in terms of micro-contrast.

I hesitate to describe the DFA 100mm as my 'least favourite' macro lens, but it is certainly the one I find least satisfying in use. Not because it lacks sharpness or is anything less than satisfying in terms of colour rendition, but due to its lesser quality of construction and less than stellar overall AF performance. Certainly, it would be the lens I had least difficulty parting with should I ever face a temporary liquidity crisis


Link Posted 13/09/2022 - 21:48
You, sir, have Impeccable taste in macro lenses . Or to put it another way, your top two are the same as mine and for much the same reasons. I don't have the Pentax 100mm but do have the Sigma 105mm, which comes with me if the size and weight of the Irix might be a problem.

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