HONEYBEE SWARM THURINGIA, GERMANY
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.