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No AF here Jane. Old school manual focus. The only lens here that is AF is the 400 used on the final shot and that was used manually. I work this way- I know how big in frame I want the subject and prefocus often rocking back and forth to get critical focus. The challenge with bees is their small size requires magnification and offers very little DOF to work with. Most of these bees are 10mm in length and were shot at focal length / f stop combos that only gave me 5-7mm DOF so the lens needed to be at just the right angle and the bee needed to be in just the right place in mm to get a keeper. I'm a 30+ year pro and shoot 100s to get 1 keeper. The beauty of digital is you can do it too. With patience and practice your hit rate will improve! Sit quietly and get to know your subject to anticipate the action. We are all creatures of habit - I like my garden chair and hammock, the robin in the garden has his favourite perch, the bees each favor a different flower - get familiar with common behaviour and you'll be prefocused and waiting. Yup lots of waiting then when the actions happening you can't shoot fast enough. Post your work here many are happy to help. Bon chance!
Edit- Jane sorry I should of also added that I use very fast shutter speeds as well- for insects in flight I like to start at 1/3200 and will usually work higher depending on species. Bumbles are kind of slow and early morning 3200 usually is good as they warm up they speed up, by midday 4000 is needed. Just review your shots you want to try to freeze the wing tips. Having said that some species like the Hairy legged are amazingly fast. The shot of the male was 1/6500 and his wings still aren't frozen - the female was 1/5000 a speed that freezes most hummingbirds dead but her wings aren't sharp. They are the speediest bees in my garden and as such the most rewarding because my keeper rate is so low! Wink wink.
Edited on Aug 20, 2014 at 12:32 AM · View previous versions