Where I make my first porno film…
We had just finished dinner a couple of days ago when my youngest son (six) looked out through the sliding glass door and told me that there was a really big bug out on the deck. At first I just thought it was a leaf moving in the breeze (my eyes not being what they once were). But when I looked closer I realized that what he had actually spotted were two connected insects: a pair of half-black bumble bees (Bombus vagans) busily mating.
The bees were right in the open on the rug that covers most of the deck. It didn’t provide the most natural looking background, but at least it made for easy photography. The bees were rather focused on their activity and were completely oblivious to me, so after I took a few pictures, I decided to shoot some video. I couldn’t have had much more cooperative subjects. The only real challenge was that the sun was starting to go down and the light was dropping rapidly. So I shot most of the video using a small portable video light in an attempt to stop the lens down as far as I could and maximize the depth of field. In retrospect I should have increased the ISO and gained even more depth of field. I am just so used to shooting for higher resolution that I just never think of playing with the sensitivity.
In any case, and without further ado, I give you my latest video attempt:
The video is really a bit silly, and the staff of National Geographic has no reason to be worried (yet). But it was fun to produce and I learned a lot about video editing. And I am inordinately proud of the opening “macrocritters” graphic I designed!
PS: I was really surprised at the size of the stinger the queen had! I always think of bumble bees as being completely inoffensive, but she was packing some impressive armament! I don’t know exactly how long her stinger was, but she was about an inch long (25mm). Apparently when the stinger is not needed it is hidden inside the bumble bee’s last abdominal segment. I guess it was necessary to extend it under the, um, circumstances. Drones don’t have a stinger.
The technical stuff:
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M5
Lens: Zuiko 60mm micro four thirds macro
Settings: manual exposure (F11 @ 1/250 sec)
Lighting: Olympus RF-11 ring flash (1/4-1/2 power)
Settings: shutter priority exposure (@ 1/50 sec shutter speed)
Lighting: Natural light + small video light hand-held