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Posts Tagged ‘salvia’

A flash of light among the flowers caught my eye yesterday as I wandered about at Green Spring Gardens and I managed to capture this shot of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris). I don’t see any red on its throat, so I’m guessing that it is a female or an immature male.
When I looked at the EXIF data I realized how lucky I was to get this shot, for the shutter speed used was only 1/250 of a second. That shouldn’t be fast enough to capture a hummingbird in flight and it also is not really fast enough to be shooting with at 552mm handheld with my zoom lens, even with its built-in image stabilization.
As you probably suspect, I wasn’t intentionally shooting with such a slow shutter speed. I had been shooting flowers in aperture priority mode in bright sunlight and had lowered my ISO to 250 right before I spotted the hummingbird from a distance. The hummingbird was darting in and out of the light among the flowers (I think the flower in the photo is a type of salvia flower). I knew that I would have only a limited chance to get a shot, so I aimed and shot with the existing settings.
I’m glad that I have used my Tamron 150-600mm so much this past year, because I was somehow able to rely on muscle memory and instincts to help me get this shot, though I must acknowledge that luck played a huge role too.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Flowers and bees have a mutualistic relationship—the flower provides the nectar and the bee assists in pollination. Sometimes, though, bees will circumvent the process by drilling a hole in the side of the flower and gaining access to the nectar without touching the reproductive parts of the flower, a process sometimes called “nectar robbing.”

Last weekend, I encountered this bee, which looks to be a honeybee, repeatedly taking nectar from the side of a Salvia flower. In an earlier posting, I showed that it was a tight fit for a bumblebee to enter the flower from the front, but it nonetheless did its part in pollination. The honeybee apparently decided it was easier to take a shortcut and go directly to the nectar.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Whenever I am shooting flowers of any sort I am inevitably drawn to bees. I love watching them flying and hovering, back and forth and in and out of the flowers.  Sometimes a bee seems to be systematically covering a group of flowers and other times he seems to be choosing randomly where to touch down before moving on, relentlessly in motion.

Here are a couple of recent shots of carpenter bees on a plant that I have been told is called salvia. I love its deep purple color and simple flowers. The first shot is a closeup of a bee. The second one gives you a better idea of the shape of the flower. Note that in both cases the bee is getting the nectar from the side of the flower and is therefore not pollinating it.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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