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The Wonder of the Grey Bee

I'm very lucky to have a couple of medium to large bodies of water where I live. This brings in all sorts of wildlife such as the many ducks I photograph, moorhens, dragonflies, kingfishers and many marshy plant species.

Down by the water's edge we have a large area where Purple Loosestrife grow. This brings many an opportunity to photograph the different bee species that visit these vibrant blooms.

On a bright, breezy day in August I headed down with my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and began to click away at the busy bees, hovering and hopping from flower to flower.

After I took a few shots, I paused to look at what I had captured and if any settings needed to be changed. I glanced up at the flowers over to my right, and caught a glimpse of what appeared to be some sort of greyish white, fuzzy insect. It had flown into the forest of flowers, and very much piqued my interest. Gently making my way through the tall purple perennials, I fairly quickly located the grey fuzzy beast, and my mouth dropped open (thankfully no bees flew in.) It was a totally grey bee. I had, up until then, never seen anything like it! I quickly snapped a few shots and zoomed in on my screen to get a better look at him/ her. It appears to be a Common carder bee (although my bee knowledge could be further improved) which is a type of Bumblebee. I believe this particular individual is a rare colour variant of the species, although how rare, I am unsure.

You can usually get an idea of the quality of your photos on your camera screen during a session, but until they are blown up on a computer screen, you can't be totally sure how they might come out. I was crossing my fingers and toes that these pictures would come out okay.

After uploading my photos to my MacBook, I was pleasantly surprised and very grateful to the photography gods that the pictures of the fuzzy grey bee turned out to be some of the best from the entire bee session. I decided to edit Mr. (Mrs?) grey bee with a slightly ethereal look as I felt it reflected the rarity of the special moment, and enhanced the beauty of the purple flowers, and the gorgeous little pollinator perched on top.

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