Photo of the Week – August 4, 2016

This Wednesday, I arrived at Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center southwest of Lincoln, Nebraska just as a heavy morning fog was beginning to dissipate.  I had about 10 minutes before a meeting, so I grabbed my camera, threw on some rain pants and waded into the wet grass.  Lanceleaf blazing star (Liatris lancifolia) was blooming in large patches in the restored prairie near the parking lot, so I wandered over to take a look.  A wet bumblebee was sitting on one of the flowering stems, waiting for the sun to dry it off.  Using a wide angle lens, I took several photographs of the bee and surrounding flowers, trying out some different angles and compositions.

Here’s the problem: I can’t decide which composition I like best.  So, as I’ve done many times before, I’m presenting them to you.  To be honest, this crowd sourcing method hasn’t been particularly helpful to me in the past, since there is rarely a strong majority among voters.  Being an eternal optimist, however, I’m going to keep trying. Plus, many of you seem to enjoy voting.

SO – tell me which of these you like best.  Please?  Thank you.

Bumblebee on blazing star. Photo #1.

Bumblebee on blazing star. Photo #1.

Bee and blazing star #2.

Bee and blazing star #2.

Bee on blazing star #3

Bee on blazing star #3

Bee on blazing star #4. (Vertical - just to complicate things)

Bee on blazing star #4. (Vertical – just to complicate things)

65 thoughts on “Photo of the Week – August 4, 2016

  1. #4. I like that the bumblebee is in the sky. It looks like it is trying to climb a cliff to the freedom of the sky.

  2. C’mon Chris. Clearly it’s the first one. The depth and spacing of the upright flower stalks give one the sense of an enchanted forest. On second thought maybe that comment indicates an inherent bias induced by sharing a home with a 10 year old girl?

  3. I have to go with #4 Chris . . . just a more striking photo in my opinion. Photo #2 is a close second for me. Very nice and thank for sharing them Chris!

  4. Ah, Definitely #2. The composition is clear and not too confusing and the bee there easy to see. The yellow flowers add some nice contrast and not too complicated with a jumble of flowers. Such a glorious flower for the end of the summer up here in northwestern Wisconsin for me!!!

  5. Chris-#2 is the best composition. Watch out for putting things to close to the edge of the frame. The vertical is ok, but #2 gives one the best balance of the elements in the photograph.

    Carl Kurtz

  6. Picture 1 definitely. The subject of the picture is the Liatris, and the bumblebee is a secondary character. Picture 1 is the best presentation of the Liatris.

  7. #4. I like seeing the bee silhouetted and also like the vertical shape of the photo which compliments the verticality of Liatris.

  8. #4 because of the contrast of the bee against the sky, though I wish I could see the top of that liatris in the frame and the bottom has a little too much dead space. It’s still my favorite. I also really like the composition of #2 but I wish the bee popped more. I like the quartering shot of the bee in 3 but the liatris on the far left doesn’t do much for me in the frame.

    They’re all pretty dang good though Chris!

  9. From the standpoint of balance, symmetry and sheer beauty of a delicious blue prairie sky contrasted with the liatris blooms I prefer #1 to all the others, but from the standpoint of the subject of bee and bloom I prefer #4. If I were going to pick one for my living room wall where a more general landscape-type topic would fit better, it would be #1, but for my office/den (which is more a clutter of many different subjects that I love individually), it would be #4.

  10. I don’t like any of them Chris – I jest, of course, they all have appealing attributes. For me it’s #2 mainly because of the aspect of the clouds in it, and the blue is a bit more washed out than the others (which I normally wouldn’t like as much, but works here).

  11. For a unique depth and perspective, you can’t beat #1. I completely got the ‘enchanted forest’ feel that others mentioned. If I didn’t know what I was looking at, I might think this was a landscape shot with 2-3 foot tall grasses and 30 foot tall columns of some flowering, saguaro cactus-like plants. Until I would see the bee. :-)

    The realist in me is quite fond of #4.

  12. I agree with Lisa. Besides the surprise of the bee, #1 also has an interesting off-center perspective to the horizon (what’s the word I can’t recall? parallax?) with blazing stars in various stages of flowering lined up like lampposts.

  13. #4 Chris. This perspective gives the viewer a feeling of being small, like the bee, in a “forest” of blazingstar. Great photo!

  14. I think #1 is the best/most appealing composition. The depth of field makes this more of an environmental portrait of a bee in its habitat and not just a macro image of the bee and flower. I like how the Liatris plants create a pyramid/triangle that fills up the space in the photograph and create and upward movement that gives the illusion of more height. I also like how the plant to the right of the image creates a stopping point for your gaze and helps push your eyes back to the left.

    I like the bee in #4 best, but I think the left side of the picture is dead space. If the flower had been placed on the left third of the picture it would give the bee “space” to take off into – kind of like having an animal looking into an image and not off to the nearest edge.

    In #2 I think the Liatris just divides the picture in half. It makes me want to just look at the right half of the photo where the bee is located and ignore the left side of the picture.

    To my eye, Photo #3 has too much dead space in the top half (especially the left side). Just like in photo #4, I think the bee is too far to the outside of the photo with nowhere to visually “go” if it takes flight.

  15. Chris, got to be number 4 because I can tell what species/gender of bumblebee – male B. griseocollis, and that informs the entire image – the bee is getting on the tallest thing around so it can see potential mates. Plus the verical image is cool, it grabs you. Thanks!

  16. This doesn’t seem to be one of the popular choices, but I’d actually go with #3 because it maintains focus on the bee itself (it’s more apparent than in #’s 1 and 2) while still retaining more of the context and sense of depth than #4. I also think #3 just has a more balanced overall composition than #4.

  17. My first choice would be #4 because of the reasons above…more or less and my second choice would be #3. Chris, you always have really, really great pics! Thank you!

  18. Well, from an artist’s eye, #2. Strong composition, less cluttered than the others, much more bold than the others. Too much going on and the eye doesn’t know where to go. These three plants pull your eye around the image, making it very dynamic.

  19. Pingback: Voting Results: Prairie and Bee? or Bee in Prairie? | The Prairie Ecologist


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