Photographer’s Field Notes: On Butterflies and Bees

By Kirk McConnell

I think what drives me to photograph bees, butterflies, and other small critters is seeing how they work together and live and thrive. Since I walk every place and do not have a car, it has forced me to slow down and in the process, I feel like I can call myself an insect anthropologist and an artist. I have an appreciation of what I see around me. One of the things I really look forward to seeing  are bees.

They are our pollinators. Without bees, we would not have the many beautiful flowers we see along a path or in a field. Without bees, we wouldn’t have honey. Without these many of the plants are we rely on for food would not exist. 

I also enjoy seeing lizards, dragonflies, ladybugs, and hummingbirds. Some are harder to capture on film that others for obvious reasons.  As to whether or not I hunt for them,  I like to think of it more as an insect scavenger hunt.

Many times it’s just spontaneity and serendipity. I’m very intuitive. One thing I have learned when I take pictures of bees and these other small creatures is not get in the way. I politely asked them if I can take their picture, (yes, I do know they won’t respond back), and after I’m done, I say “thank you .” 

One of the things I consider when I take pictures is how can I provide a way for people to see what I see? We live in a world that is very busy. Our culture is go, go, go. I do not think that the average person really takes time to see what is around. I think it is important to take time out in one’s day and spend some quiet time with nature. 

When I am hunting for images, it’s mostly random. However, I’m looking for things that I can remember in my mind, and to fill my mind with good things. I’ve always been told that I am very perceptive of my surroundings, and I’m sensitive to what goes on.

 Lastly, I have discovered that when I photograph bees, butterflies, and these other small creatures, it has helped me to see things in ways that I wouldn’t ordinarily see, it has also served as a means of therapy and coping with the anxieties that I feel on a daily basis. photographing these small creatures allows me the opportunity to see things I ordinarily, wouldn’t see  and gives me some semblance of peace.

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