Mount Shuksan Alpenglow
It is always tough to narrow down a years worth of images into a list of the “best”. I did this last year and I think it is a valuable exercise. Jim Goldstein of JMG Galleries creates a list of everyone’s top 10 images each year. I made my first top 10 last year. This years list has fewer landscape and more wildlife photos. This is partly due to my not getting out to shoot as many landscapes as last year, and partly due to my backlog in image editing.
You can click on each of the following images to go to the blog post that may tell a bit more about the location and how I made the photograph.
In no particular order my “Best of 2011″…
Nectar Gathering-click to enlarge-
One of the things I love most about macro photography is how a small area of the backyard can suddenly yield almost infinite possibilities with a macro lens. One of my favourite macro subject are bees – and while I have shot a lot of these it can be rather hit and miss. You need a decent shutter speed as these and other insects don’t seem to sit still long while on a flower. To do this I shot at a higher ISO than usual (800 in this case), and at a wide aperture (f/6.3 for a little more DOF than f/2.8) so I could have a high shutter speed. I was also doing this hand held with a 100mm lens with no stabilization, so a shutter speed of 1/100sec would have not turned out well with just the camera shake from my hands (that 1/focal length rule). These guys dart around so much that using a tripod would drive one mad so these settings are important.
Even with settings like this there is still a lot of trial and error. So I take a lot of shots. This further illustrated to me my need to upgrade from my 2Gb CF cards – they were okay for my 30D but the 7D in RAW mode results in 22-25 megabytes for each photo. Once you start taking something other than landscapes having only 70 exposures available before switching cards is limiting.
I have occasionally seen the odd honey bee drinking water from the edge of the pond, and occasionally from the edge of the birdbath – but never en masse like they have this year. I don’t know if it is the nature of the summer weather, or the fact the neighbours have a beehive – but they have been there every day in numbers for most of the last few months. I got the tripod and my macro lens in very close to them and aside from a few buzzing around my head they didn’t much care I was there. At least they sit still on the birdbath relative to on the flowers.
After a seemingly endless search for the “perfect” bee shot, I decided last summer to skip a year in taking them. I have some nice bee shots, but I became so tired of sorting through them I don’t even want to look at a bee on a flower for a while.
For some reason I took this shot in the middle of a bunch of other macro shots back in May – and it turned out rather well. I have several shots of bees with their “tongues” stuck out – but this guy actually has it IN a flower from a forget-me-not.
Closer Crop – you can see the tongue better:
Bee on Forget-me-not (2009)