Busy Bumblebees

I've always wondered how a bug like a bumblebee, with a huge body and small wings, can actually fly.  I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around it, but it certainly does fly!  Perhaps the bigger question might actually be why I was getting so close to the bees in the first place!

All of the below shots were captured with the Fuji XF 90mm f/2 lens.  It is awfully slow to focus, but it's a prime lens, and thus made for portraiture, not fast-moving objects.  Even with the X-T2 set for high power, it wasn't focusing that fast.  Supposedly, the X-T2's latest firmware increased the camera's autofocus phase detection just like the X-H1, so I'll eventually have to go back and experiment.

ISO 200   90mm f/2 lens   f/2   1/550sec

As you can see from the above and below photos, these little critters really move fast!  I was surprised that even at 1/550sec, it still wasn't enough to actually freeze their wings in place.

ISO 200   90mm f/2 lens   f/2   1/550sec

What's interesting about the above two shots and the next two shots are the pollen sacs (are those what they're called?) on the bumblebees.  They must secrete something to get the pollen to stick together like that.

ISO 200   90mm f/2 lens   f/2   1/1700sec

Here we have a cropped version of the above so you can get a closer look.

ISO 200   90mm f/2 lens   f/2   1/1700sec

I'm not sure exactly where the focus point was for the above photo.  I've been trying to find it, but I think it might actually a quarter of an inch in front of the bumblebee itself.  The autofocus point was basically where the bee was a half second earlier.  Yeah, they really move fast!

Have a look at the next photo.  Even at 1/1700sec shutter speed, I still can't freeze the wings in place!

ISO 200   90mm f/2 lens   f/2   1/1700sec

The next few shots focus on a single bumblebee, and it was a big one.  I was a bit worried about getting close to it because something that big probably had an even bigger stinger!

ISO 200   90mm f/2 lens   f/2   1/2400sec

Even with the 90mm lens, which has the same field of view as a 135mm lens on a full frame, I got pretty close to this big bee.  The image is not cropped or zoomed in.  Same with the next one.

ISO 200   90mm f/2 lens   f/2   1/1250sec

However, this next image is a cropped version of the above.  The 90mm lens was really sharp this time!

ISO 200   90mm f/2 lens   f/2   1/1250sec

It's kinda neat that in the above photo, the bumblebee almost has a face!

This next and final set is just absolutely beautiful!  There's just a ton that so right about it, from the nice circular bokeh -- if you like that stuff -- and also the sharpness of the image.

ISO 200   90mm f/2 lens   f/2   1/1400sec

How sharp?  Here's the cropped version.

ISO 200   90mm f/2 lens   f/2   1/1400sec

The image is so sharp that you can see the strands of spider silk on the leaves and stem of the plant.

I had originally set out to capture bees with the Fuji XF 60mm f/2.4 macro lens, and I'll showcase some test shots from that soon, but the 90mm lens worked well.  It's a bit hit or miss with the autofocus, but some great shots really came out of it!