About two years ago, I headed out to Veterans Oasis Park in Chandler for a last-chance-for-the-season effort at bird photos. Sadly, the birds had mostly flown.

By my standards it was a hot afternoon and I almost gave up to head back to air-conditioned comfort. But at the last minute I saw some bees on a bush at about camera level. Since I didn’t need to crouch down and then get back up, and since I couldn’t be near the ones I love, I decided to see whether I could get good close-ups of the ones I was near. As usual, the answer was yes and no. Yes, occasionally; no, frequently.

That started my ongoing Dance with Bees, a dance I pursued later that year in Vancouver where I spent a lot of time as my mother made her final passage. When she snoozed, or when I needed a break, I’d go out to the garden to engage with the bees again.

As with the cormorants, Mom was uncharacteristically critical of my choice of photographic subject when I showed her one of my better shots. I laughed then, and I laugh now, thinking of her reaction.

The other day I happened upon a bee again — the first one I’d seen this season. As I lined it up and zoomed in, I heard Mom’s voice again.

He’s an ugly little fellow, isn’t he?

Close-up of bee on red feathery flowerMaybe so. But it’s extraordinary to have the opportunity to see them close-up, from so many vantage points.


3-photo collage of butt-view of bees


7-photo collage of side views of beesFront & Top

5-photo collage of front view of bees4-photo collage of bees from top viewAirborne (Ta Da!)

And vantage points aside, catching them in mid-air is a miracle.

7-photo collage of airborne bees


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2 Responses to Bees

  1. Beautiful. Such sharp focus.
    Do they ever look at you when the shutter sounds?
    Or do cameras make a noise anymore?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – No, I’ve never seen a bee (or any insect) react to the camera. Birds and squirrels, yes. Some cameras can be put in silent mode, but I haven’t mastered it on mine.

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