Squash Bees

These critters look like bumblebees, but they’re squash bees, native to the Americas, working over a squash blossom just inside the garden gate. Much smaller than carpenter bees that drill holes in nearby garden posts, a bit smaller than bumblebees, and good to have around when you’re raising squash!

Squash bees in flower

Squash bees in flower

I noticed the third bee only after looking closely at the picture.

This is a handheld tight macro with the Canon SX230HS using the flash. Surprisingly, the autofocus target picked out the bees and tracked them quite well. A tripod would help, but not all that much.

  1. #1 by Aki on 2011-10-14 - 09:55

    • #2 by Ed on 2011-10-14 - 11:22

      Yeah, pretty much. [grin]

      The deciding factor was the fact that the SX230 has full manual controls. Outdoors, in good light, with an ordinary subject, the automation does a fine job. For benchtop subjects, the flash goes down by 1 stop, the exposure goes down by maybe 2/3 stop, and the aperture goes to f/8…

      Most of my pix happen in the Basement Laboratory, so GPS tagging doesn’t have much benefit. Outdoors, the GPS lock time varies from a minute to slightly longer than forever, making it useless for quick pix. If you’re taking a series of pictures and are willing to / can wait until it locks, then it’s all good, but you can’t predict any finite time.

      Macro focus seems iffy, which is likely a complex interaction between hand-held / aperture / exposure / subject. I’m conjuring up a macro lens snood with an LED ring light, which should reduce that problem by enlarging the subject. Although the snood won’t be pocket-sized (even ignoring the LED power source), it will definitely come in handy on the bench.

  2. #3 by Aki on 2011-10-14 - 13:13

    “f/8 and be there”

    “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”

    — Robert Capa (stepped on a landmine)

    • #4 by Ed on 2011-10-14 - 14:19

      “f/8 and be there”

      You wonder what those great photographers would do with contemporary cameras… probably fight the automation to a standstill, set f/8 with the shutter at twice the ISO, dial the focus to 10 meters, and take pictures!

      If I have the chance, I’ll take one picture with automation and then another with manual settings. In ordinary situations, the automation does just fine and I can guess a slightly better setting, but pix like that roller coaster required dozens of attempts to get the one good shot that mattered.