"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Friday, 19 February 2010

The Superb Bee Photographer, Eric Tourneret

If you have any interest in honey bees, honey, their history and the different traditions around the world you will spend hours looking at the fabulous site The Honey Gatherers which shows the photographs of Eric Tourneret, Bee Photographer and Photo Journalist. From different parts of the world, there are portraits of the keepers and honey seekers and of course the bees themselves, their life cycle and their history, this is a magnificent collection of photographs, all annotated.

Bees-Cameroon17

“After a very poor harvest, the honey gatherers take off the heavy suits that protected them from stings” from the Cameroon section 

L'abeille bohème du Danube.

“Constantin Cazan has come to help his father Gheorghe during the two days of harvesting and extracting. The extraction takes place in the cabin of the converted caravan” from the Romania section

Butineuses en vol d’approche de la ruche sur un champ de colza.
Les muscles de l’abeille lui permettent de battre des ailes 400 à 500 fois par seconde pour atteindre une vitesse de 25 à 30 kilomètres/heure en pleine charge. Les butineuses font 10 à 15 voyages par jour mais celles qui sont spécialisées dans la récolte du nectar peuvent opérer 150 sorties en une journée. La durée de leur vie est directement liée au temps passé en vol pour le butinage. En été, une butineuse s’épuise à la tâche en cinq jours au cours desquels elle parcourt environ 800 kilomètres. 

“Foragers approaching their hive in a colza field.The bee's muscles allow it to flap its wings 400 to 500 times per second to allow a speed of 25 to 30 kilometers per hour with its maximum payload.” from Life in the Hive section

He is meticulous in his work, here is an extract from his site about how he took the above photograph:

….the photo looking directly at the three bees in flight took a full week of work in a colza field. A hive was set up in the area that provided the desired background and a false hive containing the camera was set up just beside it. The site was then encircled by studio flashes for improved lighting. Éric sought to capture an original shot by removing the real hive filled with bees to fool the field bees upon their return. After four days of fruitless shooting, he found it necessary to change techniques and asked a swarm-catcher for a batch of bees…

“I put the queen and a few bees in a cage in the false hive, and they immediately began fanning. The bulk of the swarm in another, smaller hive ten meters away began to stir and then, in one dense, airborne throng, the bees moved towards my camera. I blindly started shooting while doing my best to deal with the bees that were landing on the optics. Finally, after a week in this Camargue field and 4,500 shutter releases, the photo was in the bag. It surpassed my every expectation. Not a frontal shot of one bee in flight in its natural environment, but three bees dancing in the air before me.”

4,500 shutter releases..wow. this is the most beautiful stuff I have seen for a long time.

3 comments:

nobonesaboutit said...

Thanks for the link to Éric Tourneret's site, very impressive. Such dedication...

Shady Gardener said...

Absolutely amazing! 4,500 shutter releases... I love my digital camera, but I'm afraid it couldn't count that high! (Don't tell it I said so!) ha. :-)

Anonymous said...

The pics of the bees in mid air are absolutely amazing...I wish I had a camera. The other day on my deck .. bees hang out there for some reason. 4 bees were bending over in a bowl of water taking a drink..I have never seen that before and they looked so cute bending over like that...