Buggy for Bees with an old macro tube


Figure 1 : Bee shot taken with K5, Pentax 50mm /f1.4 vintage lens

Recently I started to take macro tube shots of bees in my area.  This is quite an addicting facet of photography, I must say.  I’m a rank beginner at this task, but so far have managed a few semi-interesting shots.  The picture in figure 1 is one of my favorites thus far (clicking on the photo will show it enlarged on smugmug).

I’m using a Pentax K5, a vintage M42 Pentax 50mm f/1.4 lens, and a matching 1960s era M42 macro tube set (mostly I’m using the 20mm tube).   The setup lets me get to within about 5-6 inches of the bee, and results in pretty large (bee proportion) pics as a result.  The trouble is with the bees, more than with the equipment!   They are a bit private about dinner, and getting within 5-6 inches of them with a big ole vintage lens seems not to be to their liking.

The other thing that is a problem is how much time you have to get set and shoot each bee.  They stay on a flower only for 3-5 seconds before flying to the next flower.  Imagine getting your camera lined up on them, at a distance of 6 inches, and then focusing and then pressing the shutter release all in 3 seconds.  It ain’t easy.

I think I like some of the pics that personify the bees.  The pics of the bees that make them look like insects (mostly black mandibles and such) are not as nice as the ones that look to their colors – the beautiful furry coat and such things as that.  Stay tuned – I’ll be posting more pics if I can, before winter sets in.


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