Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

An even closer look at mountain pink flowers

with 30 comments

Tiny Dark Bee on Mountain Pink Anther 3741A

I can’t stop, so let’s make it four in a row for mountain pink, Centaurium beyrichii, with this even closer look showing you these flowers’ corkscrew-style anthers (anyone for saffron fusilli?).

It’s time for a periodic reminder that honeybees came to the New World with European colonists. Before then, American plants relied on native insects and other animals for pollination. They still do, as you can see from this tiny dark bee—and tiny it was, probably no more than a quarter of an inch (6mm) long.

Because of the bee’s rapid movements and small size, I used flash with a shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second and an aperture of f/29. At such a close distance even that tiny aperture couldn’t produce much depth of field, so I did my best to focus on the bee (much of which came out sharp) and had to settle for the fact that many other things in the picture would go out of focus to varying degrees.

Today’s June 15th photograph comes from a property at FM 1431 and Brahma Ln. on the west side of Lago Vista.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 30, 2014 at 6:00 AM

30 Responses

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  1. Bravo. You’ve again managed a beautiful zoological portrait while maintaining the Schwartman standard of color, composition, and visual appeal. The kids at school have been known to say ‘Cool Beans,’ I’ll add to that ‘Cool Anthers.’ D


    July 30, 2014 at 6:20 AM

  2. Beautiful capture!


    July 30, 2014 at 6:33 AM

  3. Great capture – love all the color


    July 30, 2014 at 7:27 AM

  4. That little bee is going after the anther the same way I go after a plate of good fusilli. And look at all the pollen! Grains here, grains there, and that huge bundle ready to be carried home. I think this is one of my favorites of your insect photos. It doesn’t just show the bee, it’s a glimpse into bee life. From all appearances, life was pretty good for this one when you took its photo.


    July 30, 2014 at 7:57 AM

    • Hunger is hunger—right?—whether for pollen or pasta, although even the most careless human toddler wouldn’t end up with as much pasta on him as there was pollen on the little bee. As you say, this is a glimpse into bee life, so different from ours.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 30, 2014 at 8:56 AM

  5. Saffron fusilli will do nicely, thank you. Nice crocus reference there. The little bee is a native bee; is that what you mean?


    July 30, 2014 at 8:31 AM

    • Correct. This tiny bee clearly isn’t a honeybee and I’m assuming it’s native even though I can’t identify it. We have many species of native bees here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 30, 2014 at 8:58 AM

      • Good to know there are still many species of native bees.


        July 31, 2014 at 3:26 AM

        • From what I’ve heard, most of the native bees are solitary, which is to say they don’t form colonies the way honeybees do.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 31, 2014 at 7:06 AM

    • Fusilli was what came immediately to my mind too 🙂


      July 30, 2014 at 11:24 AM

  6. Gorgeous details…

    Sid - The Wanderer

    July 30, 2014 at 10:56 AM

  7. Great flower and we have a type of pink centaury here too in Spain in the hills! Think I did put a close up on my blog for June flowers.


    July 30, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    • I didn’t know that the genus Centaurium has species that are native around the world, including Spain:


      I also didn’t know that botanists have split the genus into four.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 30, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      • It’s an amazing world of biodiversity and at least stays still for a while so I can capture it!


        July 31, 2014 at 5:34 AM

        • Yes, as photographers we have to be thankful that nature holds still long enough for us to record parts of its diversity.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 31, 2014 at 7:08 AM

  8. The focus is in just the right place, for my money, and there is enough detail, albeit soft, in the nearby anthers to give it all relevance and a supporting role for the main star.

    Steve Gingold

    July 30, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    • Thanks for confirming you’d have gone the same way. The anther that matters most was in the same plane as the bee, so I could focus (literally and figuratively) on both at the same time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 30, 2014 at 2:49 PM

  9. Love the colors & details

    Reed Andariese

    July 30, 2014 at 7:13 PM

  10. Outstanding shot!


    July 30, 2014 at 11:33 PM

  11. Did anyone ask you to stop? I hope not–and please don’t!


    August 16, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    • No, no one asked me to step; I was just being rhetorical. On the other hand, I do try not to stick with the same species for too long because some people might get tired of it. Variety’s the thing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2014 at 9:55 AM

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