Today’s Photograph 4/22/10: Thistles and Bumblebees

Everybody's got to eat. Bumblee and thistle. Canon 50mm macro lens, 1/400th sec @f2.5, ISO 200. (Copyright 2010 / Andrew Boyd)

Everybody's got to eat. Bumblee and milk thistle. Canon 50mm macro lens, 1/400th sec @f2.5, ISO 200. (Copyright 2010 / Andrew Boyd)

Our two-acre property was torn up by Hurricane Katrina, almost five years ago now—we lost 70 mature trees in our semi-rural area outside Covington, Louisiana. The destruction in the yard was mostly NOT covered by insurance, and it took us a couple of years to get things back to some semblance of normalcy. During that time, all manner of wild things grew; plants we’d never seen before would spring up in areas that hadn’t see a lawn mower in a year or so,  in amongst the piles of heaped-up logs and treetops waiting for safe burning weather.

Now we have grass growing in sunny spots that used to be deeply shaded, and we’ve grown accustomed to our new, brighter habitat. One of the plants my wife has let grow up this Spring has been the  milk thistle.

We have several of them and lately they’ve reached a good point for photography. I’ve been watching them, waiting for things to get interesting, and twice now I’ve gone out with my camera to shoot them. This first photo is from my second trip. Shooting up close, I was suddenly invaded by honeybees—several of them, who weren’t the least bit interested in me or my camera. They had work to do.

It poses a question in my mind though: feature something with a bee or without? My original attention was drawn simply to the prehistoric-looking beauty of these wild plants. Now the bees changed all of that.

Ultimately I decided to tone two of them. Any preference here? What do you guys think? I’m rather partial to my bee photograph.

Incidentally, the illusion of some type of camera zoom around the bee is simply that, an illusion. The shallow depth of focus and the ball-like shape of the thistle flower create the feeling of a zoom without having to employ any fancy camera work.

Thistle flower, late evening light. (Copyright 2010 / Andrew Boyd)

Milk thistle flower, late evening light. (Copyright 2010 / Andrew Boyd)

Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog

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Photographer, videographer and photo editor. Host and creator of The Discerning Photographer web site. Currently a Canon shooter.

9 Comments on "Today’s Photograph 4/22/10: Thistles and Bumblebees"

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  1. uberVU - social comments | April 23, 2010
  1. I do like the photo with the bee because it adds more interest to the flower. It’s almost as if the photo shows that both flowers and bees go together and were made for each other.
    And the zooming effect created by the protruding thistle spines is really cool too.
    Happy Earth Day, Andrew!

  2. Jim Denham says:

    I think they are both quite good! The zoom effect is really, really fantastic, and the background blur of the thistles give it almost a cosmic feel, especially the shot with the bee where the thistle is in the center of the image. Like going into hyperspace. I tend to prefer the one with the bee because it does add scale and life to the image. Great stuff, though!

  3. corina says:

    Perhaps if the two photos were shown together as a diptych it wouldn’t be an issue… As separate photos though, I prefer the photo that includes the bee – it has more meaning, more of a story…to me.

  4. Now I wish I could say I was planning this post just for Earth Day, Miguel…sometimes serendipity plays a role! 🙂

  5. I like the diptych idea…don’t you love the way with photography, like any art form, sometimes we start out with one idea then find ourselves carried along by the working of the situation into something else entirely?

  6. corina says:

    yeah…sometimes it evolves into something else entirely and then we go back to the original and say, hey that looks good….LOL

  7. Sterling McCullough says:

    Both shots are really amazing but I think the one with the bee really bring out the what nature is all about.

  8. The one with the bee.
    I like to take them too.


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