Bee Fly + Rework



Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


Bee flies are flies, not bees. Detailed info can be found under Bombyliidae on wikipedia. This one was feeding a few weeks ago on Crassocephalum rubens, a small flower in the garden loved by many insects, including butterflies. The non-retractable proboscis and swept-back wings are characteristic of this bee fly, and many others. It buzzes a bit like a bee, hence maybe the name.

Specific Feedback

Bee flies are often skittish, yet this one fed for some time, so I could have stacked it. Maybe the oof lower part helps draw our attention to the main subject. Any thoughts?

Technical Details

D500 + 105mm macro 1/125 f16 ISO 500

Straightened and cropped. Then Denoise, tonalities and minor sharpening in PS.

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Mike, you are right, these guys are usually skittish, so kudos to you for getting in this close and him letting you capture this shot. I like the vertical composition for the flower, but, to me it feels like the bee fly doesn’t have much room to move. It also includes some other insects that aren’t sharp, and to me a bit distracting. I am wondering if you have enough room (you said you had cropped) that you could see if a horizonal of just the bee fly and upper portion of the flower would improve the shot? It is a very nice shot, I would be thrilled to call this mine just the way it is. Nature doesn’t always cooperate the way we would like and so I am good with the insects included if the crop doesn’t improve the shot. Like I said, I like the vertical for the flower, so maybe just a bit more room could be all you need.

This does feel pretty cramped, but the detail in all but the proboscis is incredible, Mike. Even if you don’t have it in the original, with this background, it would be a breeze to use content aware to open it up and give it some more room. I like the inclusion of the two other insects and the spider web hints at yet another user of this flower. As you noted, it would have been nice to stack this and get everything in focus, but we don’t always think of that, particularly doing insects that are so mobile.

On balance, given what you have to work with, I think Shirley’s suggestion is probably the best no matter how much I like the natural history hinted at by the rest of the flower.

What a strange (and cute!) fly – it’s a new one to me. I love the sharpness and detail, but agree with @Shirley_Freeman and @Dennis_Plank on wanting more room on the sides – and top. I don’t think the fly itself needs a stack (it feels perfect as is) but it would have been nice to do a quick re-focus on the larger bug for a limited stack. The limited DOF on the lower part of the flower head is not a problem for me, and may actually work to simplify the image and keep my eyes on the fly.

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Thanks @Shirley_Freeman @Dennis_Plank and @Diane_Miller - I’ve added breathing room with Content Aware Fill, and agree it’s a necessary improvement. I’ve left the lower part as is, as I agree with Diane that the OOF helps keep the eye on the fly - also I love the overall shape of this flower.

Mike, I like it. It is all about the bee fly now. Everything else supports it.

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Thumbs up for the repost!!

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Another thumbs up on the repost, Mike. It works nicely.

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Repost looks good and yes–do some stacking if the opportunity is there. BG is nice and the photo is colorful with that band of blue that provides a good perch for the fly…Jim

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Mike: Terrific subject and the repost is even better. I think it deemphasizes the party crashers a bit. Marvelous detail on the fly. :+1: :+1:>=))>

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