Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 27 comments

As the second yellow-on-yellow picture in two days, behold a bumblee (Bombus sp.) visiting goldenrod flowers (Solidago sp.) along Ross Road in Del Valle. The date was October 10, and the place was one I’d never worked at before, so you could say I had beginner’s luck. I could reply that I’ve been beginning my photography for more than 50 years now.

UPDATE: Robert Kamper (see comment below) has presented evidence that this is really a carpenter bee and not a bumblebee. I’ve left the original post’s title rather than changing it to something like “Carpentrod.”

Instead of a quotation today, how about listening to a two-piano dueling version of Rimsky-Korsakov’s famous “Flight of the Bumblebee”?

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 28, 2020 at 4:38 AM

27 Responses

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  1. Love how the yellow on the bee echoes the yellow of the flowers. 🙂

    Ann Mackay

    October 28, 2020 at 4:51 AM

    • I lucked out in the harmonizing colors. It could have been a different insect on the goldenrod.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 28, 2020 at 8:06 AM

  2. I’m always intrigued by the variety of yellows that goldenrod exhibits. Some are truly golden, while others have the hint of citron this photo shows. The light makes a difference, of course, but there seem to be color variations among species. I suppose growing conditions could make a difference, too.

    The hints of green and red behind this plant are pleasing, and help it to stand out. The focus is perfect; even those tiny feet are sharp and clear.


    October 28, 2020 at 8:16 AM

    • And still others veer toward orange. That’s a kind of true diversity I can get behind. Of the three pictures I managed to get of this bumblebee, I showed this one because the little hairs came out the sharpest. As for the “hint of red” you mentioned, I checked my archive to see if I could determine what produced it. A section of brown fence was near by, but the red here doesn’t seem to fit that shape.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 28, 2020 at 8:55 AM

  3. A bumblebee on a bumblerod what a beautiful combination, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    October 28, 2020 at 8:35 AM

  4. I love that photo, Steve, and the name “bumblerod”. 🙂

    Lavinia Ross

    October 28, 2020 at 8:54 AM

  5. Another awesome point of light in my week from you! Thanks so much! Kathy Henderson


    October 28, 2020 at 12:39 PM

  6. That’s a great bright sunshine yellow. I hadn’t known that piece of music was by R-K, I’ll give the piano duel a listen tonight.

    Robert Parker

    October 28, 2020 at 5:51 PM

    • What with the goldenrod and the Maximilian sunflowers, I was in a field of bright yellow. “The Flight of the Bumblebee” is from Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan, composed in 1899–1900. Happy dueling.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 28, 2020 at 6:39 PM

  7. Beautiful!!


    October 28, 2020 at 7:13 PM

  8. Bumblerod is oddly reminiscent of Dumbledore, though the two have nothing in common. I like your contraction.


    October 28, 2020 at 10:26 PM

    • That’s a good observation about the similarity of the two. It’s also a reminder of the disparate meanings that contract has: to grow smaller; to purchase with a written agreement; to become afflicted with [a disease].

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2020 at 5:49 AM

  9. Clever title and what a gorgeous image. I noticed goldenrod has popped up on our property in places I had not seen it before. I hope it continues to spread!


    October 29, 2020 at 8:04 AM

    • Good to hear goldenrod’s extending its range on your range. Here’s to even more next year!

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2020 at 8:14 AM

  10. I think that the bee on the Solidago is actually an Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica) and not a Bumblebee (Bombus pennsylvanicus). See https://www.insectidentification.org/insect-description.asp?identification=Eastern-Carpenter-Bee. and https://eol.org/pages/1065343 or http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio210/s2013/netwal_meli/index.htm. I just happened to notice because my Salvia farinacea has been visited by many Carpenter bees and the occasional Bumble Bee, which are considered a threatened species – mostly due to habitat destruction and pesticides. The Carpenter Bee has a solid black abdomen, the Bumble Bee has a fuzzy yellow abdomen is the easiest way I know of to differentiate between the two, for non-entomologists like us.


    October 30, 2020 at 9:24 AM

    • Thanks. You seem to be right. Now what am I going to do with my portmanteau title “Bumblerod”?

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 30, 2020 at 10:15 AM

      • I’d just keep it. Most people can’t tell the difference between the two, anyway. The only reason I know is because there have been so many of the Carpenter Bees and so few of the Bombus species on the Salvia farinacea this summer. “CarpeBombing” sounds like an unlikely portmanteau, but then again, far more curious things have happened, and seem to be getting curiouser and curioser.


        November 2, 2020 at 6:22 PM

  11. I had a friend named Rod who was a bit of a klutz. This would have been a good name for him. Nice to see some flowering goldenrod while ours are a crumbling brittle brown.

    Steve Gingold

    November 3, 2020 at 3:03 AM

    • This picture is from 24 days ago. While most of our goldenrod has followed yours in fading or going fully to seed, some scattered goldenrod plants here still have fresh flowers.

      It’s probably just as well that you didn’t come across the name Bumblerod for your friend.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 3, 2020 at 7:19 AM

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