First Macro Shot of a Busy Bee

| April 9, 2011
bee macro photo

A busy bee shot with my new macro lens

Cool. I have just opened up a new dimension of the universe with a new lens. It is called a macro lens and it can focus extremely close to capture unbelievable detail with its life size close-up capabilities. The Canon 100mm f2.8 L Macro IS USM lens is widely reviewed as a fantastic lens for high quality macro work and my first results have gotten me very excited about close-up photography. This lens does macro very well but you can also use it for traditional photography as well, which makes it very versatile and a great addition to my camera bag.

Above is one of my first shots using macro capabilities from a recent trip to Carlsbad, California. It was shot at ISO400, f/9.0 and 1/640th of a second. I used f/9.0 so I could get the entire bee’s body in focus. As you move to wider and wider apertures (smaller f numbers) with this lens, your depth of field becomes very shallow. In fact, at f/2.8, you may only get a few millimeters of the shot in focus. This can create a very cool effect in some photographs but you should know what you are aiming for when using such settings. Even at f/9.0, you can see that the wing on the left becomes progressively out of focus as it extends toward the camera. Pretty cool! The shallow depth of field also works well to blur the background so the bee can take center stage in the photo.

The nice smelling bushes seemed to get the most attention from the bees. What I love about shooting macro is that it forces you to look for more than your eyes are trained to see. When I first approached the bush, all I really saw were the flowers. I then “refocused” my eyes and saw tons of bees working inside. I stood there for about 10 minutes trying to focus and shoot them before they flew off to another location on the bush. In all, I took about 40 shots and this was the best of the lot.

Getting a bee in the right position with the right light took some time but the results are quite satisfying. I plan to do a lot more shooting with this lens. Since it is able to shoot small objects so brilliantly, I now have an endless number of new subjects to shoot!

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Category: Photography, Tutorials

Comments (3)

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  1. AutumnLeaves says:

    This is an extremely amazing photograph, Lee. Quite beautiful, in fact. However, t’were I to ever see you coming near me with this lens, I suspect I would have to hide! LOL

  2. Wow Lee – really love the new venture with the macro – congrats on the new addition!

  3. Back before digital, in my old film days, I had a Tamron 80-200 zoom lens on my Konica. That lens was phenomenal for it’s range, but also for it’s macro ability. And like you, I found a new world through it. Can’t wait to see what your artist’s eye captures with your new lens!