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A Silent Death ...

Discussion in 'Nature' started by MarkB1, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. MarkB1

    MarkB1 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 30, 2010

    Narrative below for those who like the story that goes with the pix.

    DMC-FZ50    ---    28mm    f/11.0    1/80s    ISO 100

    DMC-FZ50    ---    26mm    f/11.0    1/60s    ISO 100

    DMC-FZ50    ---    25mm    f/11.0    1/100s    ISO 100

    DMC-FZ50    ---    25mm    f/11.0    1/100s    ISO 100

    DMC-FZ50    ---    28mm    f/11.0    1/125s    ISO 100

    DMC-FZ50    ---    38mm    f/11.0    1/60s    ISO 100

    DMC-FZ50    ---    32mm    f/11.0    1/80s    ISO 100

    DMC-FZ50    ---    30mm    f/11.0    1/80s    ISO 100

    Or a loving embrace? Either way, a most unusual meeting.


    Out in the field recently at sundown with a strong wind blowing I came across a protected area that had a few different creatures sheltering in the grass tops, well off the ground. The Orange Wasp was the most noticeable beside the gang of small green golden Nomad bees that I often find roosting here.

    Usually the Orange Wasp is so skittish it is gone as soon as I see it, as if the act of cognising it is registered by the wasp and taken as a signal to fly. But the strong wind did interrupt that process this day. The Orange Wasp remained in the relative shelter as the sun went down behind the distant trees, and the wind continued to blow.

    I focused on the Wasp, since there is usually no chance of a shot, and watched as it climbed the grass to the top. On the way it ran into a gang of small bees and caused something of a stir. Just one bee remaining behind, as if undisturbed by the wasp’s presence. The others moved off to another grass stem nearby.

    And the wasp was curious of the one remaining, aware there was something there and pushing through the grasses to do what, I don’t know – taste, smell or otherwise sense the small bee. It wasn’t aggressive by any gesture or appearance, these wasps are more vegetarian than not, so if it wasn’t hungry the bee was safe. After a short while of the wasp probing the bee the bee moved on up the stem, better safe than sorry – though I think a bee knows no sorrow, just the programming of survival and all it entails. But perhaps, occasionally, a small creature will show signs of self consciousness.

    It was nearly dark with some light from the falling sun still getting through the clouds and trees at times, wind blowing as it was – see the bee on a stem in the blurred background in one picture – wind blown into the frame. When there’s time and opportunity I will endeavour to include any sun rise or setting for the background, but it was mostly a case of get what you can while you can. So I shot away at the wasp I was focused on.


    After I had enough of that and she didn’t seem to be doing anything different so the shots would all be the same or versions of … I looked up the grass stem to where the bee had gone and there was another Orange Wasp facing my way with the bee behind it, and something else.

    It was difficult to see now but on closer inspection it became clear a spider had a grip of the small green golden Nomad bee and I wondered if the wasp had any involvement, as in awareness or reaction to what was happening to the bee – it was dying in the grip of a Crab Spider, right next to the wasp, they wait in just such places for just such opportunities.

    But no, the wasp seemed entirely unaware of the dying bee, or the spider, and proceeded on down the grass stem as the other proceeded on up it. As the bee died in the grip of the spider the two wasps met an inch below and clearly recognised each other as their own kind and made ‘inquiries’ of each other.

    Touching and turning towards each other they were clearly communicating until eventually they came together on the same side of the grass stem and touched heads and ‘beaks’. A form of caress perhaps, or exchange of information of a kind.

    Tending only to what mattered to them, not a consideration for the dying bee or predatory spider.

    However, it was clearly not an accidental embrace, either one. It never is.
    • Like Like x 25
  2. CarlB

    CarlB Mu-43 Veteran

    Superb photos and great story, Mark. For us interested in the details of the pictures too, please do tell a bit of the equipment story as well. A flash, a tripod, a very sharp telephoto?

    Again excellent captures from that evening!
  3. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    EXellent work mate
    Please tell us about the gear used please .I am guessing one of the lenses is Panny 45mm 2.8 ??
  4. Minniesmum

    Minniesmum Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 2, 2012
    Yes amazing images and story !
  5. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    When I view your images, I always hear the Louie Armstrong song playing in my head "What a Wonderful World ..."
  6. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Wonderful pics and story that could be true.

    What gear?
  7. Lili

    Lili Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 24, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    so true, actually much as I fear Wasps this is a lovely image and touching concept
    thanks so much for sharing
  8. MarkB1

    MarkB1 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 30, 2010
    Thanks guys, much appreciated. Gear is the good ole FZ50 and achromats, but lighting is the key - well, one of them. :) 

    CarlB, B-2002, Elandel - for my take on the process and gear I use see here : http://beingmark.com/macro-illustrated/
  9. MarkB1

    MarkB1 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 30, 2010
    Ha, ha! Thanks Gary. That's the way I see it, just leave the daily 'NEWS' out of mind and the wonder seeps back in. :) 
  10. MarkB1

    MarkB1 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 30, 2010
    Of course, nature is the narrative and a story is made up of parts - creative license is never surrendered in the telling. :) 
  11. MarkB1

    MarkB1 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 30, 2010
    Thanks Lili. Now you don't have to fear them any more ...? :) 
  12. MarkB1

    MarkB1 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 30, 2010
    Thanks MM, much appreciated.
  13. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    What a superb set of images and interesting narrative.

    Brilliantly captured!!
  14. MarkB1

    MarkB1 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 30, 2010
    Thanks Ian, much appreciated.
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