Highlights from this video:

0:07 – I got stung!
0:43 – Camera of choice
1:32 – Shallow DOF, Auto-Shutter Speed
2:09 – Shallow DOF, Different Shutter Speeds
3:20 – Lesson Learned

While I was at my parents farm we found a beehive decided to photograph the bees – in an unusual way.
I decided to use my Point-and-Shoot; it’s a Mirrorless Fujifilm X-E2 Point and Shoot with 23mm wide angle lens.
I love this little camera! (I’m planning on doing a full review soon)


Camera of Choice – Fujifilm X-E2

I shot with a very shallow depth of field, shooting at F/1.4
I got in really close, but I’m going to show you a couple of ways to get the most out of photographing bees, which is normally quite difficult.
When you’re photographing bees, normally you’ll need a long lens on a SLR camera.
It’s pretty hard because they’re fast moving and they’re pretty small and hard to focus on.
But I’m going to show you a couple of techniques.


Straight on and flat on to the tree

Shallow DOF, Auto-Shutter Speed

So, with the Fuji camera, I turned the settings to auto-shutter speed and an F/1.4 aperture.
I went in really close to the bees as they were coming in and out of the dead tree.
It looked okay, but the problem was, I was photographing flat on to the tree (so it did not separate the bees from the background that much)

What I learned:

  1. Get as close as possible
  2. Use wide-open aperture (f 1.4) for a very shallow-depth-of-field
  3. Shooting straight onto the tree – the bees do NOT stand out from the background
  4. Auto shutter speed is not good – bees are blurry

1/100 sec

Shallow DOF, Different Shutter Speeds

The next thing I did was, I shot in at angle so the hole where the bees are going in-an-out-of is in focus and the rest of the tree is out of focus.
With the aperture still at F/1.4, I changed the shutter speed from auto-focus to 1/250 sec to 1/500 sec, and then I went to 1/1000 sec, 1/2000 sec, and 1/4000.
I was shooting at a high burst rate; shooting a lot of frames per second.
Some of the bees were in focus as they’re coming in to the hole.

1/500 sec

1/500 sec

Lesson Learned

So that’s the lesson I have for you today.
You can photograph wild bees with a simple Point and Shoot camera with a wide angle lens and still get some incredible shots.
Just be careful with the bee stings!

  1. Use shallow depth of field (wide open aperture)
  2. Get in close (try not to get stung!)
  3. Use a super-fast shutter speed (faster than 1/500 sec) – to freeze the bees in mid-flight
  4. Shoot at an angle to the tree – so that bees stand out from the background


Photo Challenge – I dare you…

Now, the thing for you to do is to challenge yourself.
Go out there and photograph something that you’ve photographed before but with different equipment.
Limit yourself to ONE lens and ONE camera body and see how it goes. 

Don’t forget to leave your questions and comments below. I’ll answer them personally.  Brent

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