Our house in Urbana hosted a standard urban lawn when we moved in a few years back. Grass. A few dandelions. It was mowable, but not exciting otherwise.
To spice things up, I’ve been replacing the lawn with native plants. In early summer, our yard is now a colorful meadow:
The garden has benefits beyond mere aesthestics. Our homegrown prairie patch provides a wealth of opportunities for pollinator photography. The Lasioglossum sweat bee is one of many images I’ve taken on the black-eyed susans. These easy yellow asters seeded across the meadow from a single pot I transplanted in 2010.
Photographing pollinators well requires doing more than just pointing a camera at a bee and snapping away. A key aspect of the top photograph is its low angle. By crouching down to bee height and shooting up, I captured a perspective that transforms a seemingly insignificant bee into a larger-than-life animal, one worthy of the respect our increasingly troubled native pollinators deserve.
If you’d like a print, the native bee photograph is one of 30 I’ve included in the Holiday Print Sale, running until January 1.
Canon MP-E on a Canon EOS 7D
ISO 200, f/13, 1/200 sec
Lit with diffuse off-camera twin flash