02.04.18: Flowers and bee

A bee visits a sunflower in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio. 


Technical information

Aug. 24, 2012,
8:36 a.m.

40°6’42” N,
82°57'32" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Canon EOS 7D

Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm) 


1/1000th second


I seldom set out to photograph flowers. Occasionally I’ll grab a macro lens and tripod to shoot some spring flowers in our yard, but most of my flower photographs are what I refer to as “found” scenes — something I happen to see while photographing wildlife. 

I grab a shot with my 600 millimeter super-telephoto lens while standing about 20 feet away, then go back to what I was doing.

If I get a usable photo, it’s a happy accident.

Like this one.

I was photographing goldfinch in a field in Sharon Woods Metro Park on an August morning when I noticed two sunflowers positioned against a green background in a way that I thought could make an attractive composition. The top flower was about a foot closer to the camera than the bottom one, so I focused on the top one and let the bottom one drop out of focus, almost like a defocused reflection.

I liked what I saw through the camera’s viewfinder, but just when I started to press the shutter button a bee landed on the top flower. The extra bit of detail provided by the bee made the scene more interesting  in my opinion.

I grabbed a couple of shots as the bee worked its way around the center of the flower. After about a minute the bee flew away and I returned to photographing goldfinch.

Later that day, when reviewing the photographs from the morning shoot on my computer, the photos of the flowers really stood out in the thumbnail-sized previews. The bright yellow popped against the green, drawing the eye to the scene. When I looked at the photos in a larger size, the colors still popped and the bee hiding against the center of the flower provided an interesting focal point.

So I ended up with an interesting, usable flower photo while photographing birds. It’s just another happy accident.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.