BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Photo Analysis -

A hon­ey­bee colony is an in­cred­i­ble thing – thou­sands of in­di­vid­ual an­i­mals, yet also a sin­gle or­gan­ism. A colony de­cides to­gether when it’s time to leave the hive – usu­ally in early sum­mer, when the nec­tar flow is at its peak. The queen and thou­sands of work­ers emerge in a gi­ant swarm and fly off en masse, paus­ing to rest pe­ri­od­i­cally on a branch, wall or other suit­able spot.


I was pho­tograph­ing in­sects in a field in the small town of Crawinkel when I spot­ted an ap­proach­ing cloud of bees. I watched them, try­ing to gauge how they would be­have. When I re­alised that the swarm was about to land in a nearby bush, I quickly set up six sep­a­rate flashes to light what I knew would be a very busy scene. A few min­utes later, the swarm had set­tled.

I was right in the mid­dle of the ac­tion as I took this shot, and the im­age en­cap­su­lates the im­mer­sive feel­ing of be­ing at the cen­tre of a swarm. The bees were ev­ery­where, land­ing on my hands and on my cam­era, and I had to move very slowly and care­fully. The in­sects were so pre­oc­cu­pied that they didn’t seem to mind where they touched down: I didn’t re­ceive a sin­gle sting.

In this im­age, your eye is drawn to the in­di­vid­ual against the blue sky. She makes me smile be­cause she looks so busy. For me, she makes the shot.

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