Bees on Dahlia: Nikon and iPhone Comparisons
October 6, 2017
We have had unusually warm weather in Vermont for early October, providing a welcomed extension to what was a mostly cool summer. A few mornings ago, however, the nighttime temperatures dropped into the 30’s (single digits Celsius). On an early morning walk around my gardens, I spotted dew-bespeckled bees seemingly painted on my dahlias. It was a magical moment. I ran back to the house and grabbed my Nikon SLR and tripod. I shot this photo:
I thought to myself, “Is this the way some bees die at the end of the summer? Their metabolisms gradually slow as the temperature drops on a waning day and through the night. While they are drinking the sweet nectar of a beautiful flower, they eventually drift into a sleep brought on by what we humans call hypothermia.”
I have read that after the initial pain from the cold, death by hypothermia is relatively peaceful. The bees in this dewy, motionless state perched upon my dahlias seemed impervious to the chill if it weren’t for their inability to move. I don’t think they would have moved had I petted them.
I am happy to report that when the warm sun filled my meadow the bees were dancing happily from flower to flower.
I visited that same garden this morning. It’s not nearly as cold today, but it is damp and grey. I discovered bees (the same ones?) perched atop the same dahlias “frozen”, but not covered in dew, awaiting the warm sun to invigorate their exoskeletons. This time, iPhone in my pocket, I decided to snap some pictures and compare them with those I took with my Nikon a few days earlier. Here is one I took of a singular bee on a singular petal:
I am more than occasionally surprised at the quality of the photos I get from my iPhone 6. Their quality falls short of those from my Nikon but given the convenience, portability, and surprising resolution and color, I always keep my iPhone handy.
Now, as to the surprises I find in nature, I never cease to be amazed!
Here on my mountain in southern Vermont, I am frequently delighted by the soaring hawk above my meadow, flocks of turkey guiding their young through the edges of my woods, owls that call to each other in the night, the black bear that plods along my brook, the snake that warms itself on the stone wall, chipmunks that chatter noisily, robins that pluck insects from my gardens and fields, and goldfinch that feed on my sunflowers.
The wonders of this magical natural world no doubt alight in front of each of us every day – most likely even if you are an urban dweller. Be attentive, be mindful. The natural world has much to teach us if we choose to observe and listen.
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