Halictus sweat bee preening

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


In late July I found this 1/2 inch sweat bee out on the flowers. These flowers are so popular that I’ve put some of the seed heads in other spots in the yard in hopes they will come up next year.

Anyway, usually bees this small don’t sit for me long, but this one did and she wasn’t even upset about the flash. She just had a feed and a preen and was so cute that I was very happy she felt relaxed. Plus no crab spider to ambush her.

Specific Feedback

Which pose or crop do you prefer? Anything else need improvement?

Technical Details

Handheld w/Godox Flash & Magmod silicone diffuser
Highlight-weighted metering


Began in Lr with a Linear Profile since it was really contrasty - applied enough color and contrast recovery to send a decent, but flat file into Photoshop. There I used some masking and a Clarity action in the TK9 panel to further improve contrast and tame the color in the flower. Also used Smart Sharpen. Cropped in Lr and gave it a horizontal flip.

Hi Kris :slight_smile:

Really nice series of sweat bee images!

All the colors compliment each other very well and the DOF is very effective in my view.
The yellow parts of the flower and the yellow parts of the bee make it seem as though the bee belongs there, it just looks natural and I agree, these little bees are very cute.

I hope the seed heads come up next year for you.
My experience with these tiny bees has been much the same as it was for you, usually they simply ignore our presence and the flash doesn’t seem to bother them at all (at least when they’re not really busy).

You ask which pose or crop we prefer, I vote for #2, and mostly because the antenna are separated, I like the head turn a bit better in #1 but the antenna are arranged so they almost appear as one.

I like the pose and the antenna in #3 but the yellow and the luminosity seem a bit duller in that one.

#4 is great as well but I personally prefer the way it’s cantilevering its thorax and head out over the flower from a side profile as it is in the first 3.

Know that I really like all 4 but since I’m asked to pick one as a favorite, it’s #2 :slight_smile:

I like your updated Profile image, it’s easier to tell what and who it is at a glance! :slight_smile:

Well done, Kris! :slight_smile:

Kris, indeed you had a great moment captured here. The bee appears to be so proud and full of itself in this series. I personally prefer the third image, as it appears the bee is on the verge of taking flight or just living on the edge. I saw that as if it were screaming “I’m on top of the world.” That macro is coming right at our faces and keeping the eye nowhere but on the bee. Beautiful images and color palette.

Wonderful catches! Super sharp detail with just-right DOF. Well-handled yellows, and Mother Nature has done a great job of color coordination! My favorite would be #3 – she looks like she’s about to leap. (She? Do these creatures have the same gender roles as honey bees?)

But for a super closeup, #1 is priceless, as they say.

Somewhere I have a dragonfly wiping its eye in flight. Wonder if I can find it… Wonder if I can find time to find it…

No. 2 followed by No. 3 as my favorites, Kris. Excellent job on all of these. I love all the pollen grains on her.

Do I have to make a pick, Kris??? They are all excellent, in my opinion. I think #3 would be it if I had to choose, mainly because I like the lighting, it seems more natural to my old eyes. Well done with this fast movers. Such wonderful details and poses.

Really nice series Kris. I like #3 the best with that active pose and being able to see both antennae. Nice yellow tones, lighting, and fine BG. Well done.

Thanks @Merv, @Dennis_Plank, @Egidio, @Diane_Miller, @Shirley_Freeman & @Allen_Sparks - for your input and impressions. While I am mainly a “documentarian” photographer, I do try to do it well and artistically so I like having some feedback about which poses or crops work best.

The bees are just about done for the year now. Not may left out and about. We haven’t had a hard frost yet, but close.

Do find the dragonfly eye wipe shot! That must be fun.

I looked through all my dragonfly folders that I could find – most are organized in a parent folder. Most… I couldn’t find it and hope I will stumble on it if it’s been misplaced. But I may have deleted them. They were not good technically. I have 287 frames keyworded as dragonflies in flight and lesser quality ones get axed from time to time as backup drive space has become critical.

Bummer, but that’s ok. Thanks for having a look.