May brings the Carpenter Bees out in droves. I have found capturing a good shot of a male hovering over his territory to be quite an interesting challenge. Although they seem to hover nearly stationary it still has not been an easy chore, at least for me.
First they are not nearly as stationary as they appear when I try to find one through my viewfinder. Normally by the time I have acquired focus the bee is zooming off to intercept an intruder or has moved a few inches and now out of focus. Shutter speed presents another problem as does depth of field. Of course to increase DOF one must move to a tighter aperture which decreases shutter speed. When all else comes together I find that I am usually looking at the south end of a north bound bee, not exactly the angle I was looking for.
As for safety while shooting these bees, notice white patch on the bee’s face; this mark identifies it as a male which has no stinger, only the black faced female carry the artillery.
Canon 30D, 100-400mm lens @ 400mm, F6.3 @ 1/250th sec, ISO 800