Monday, August 17, 2009

Bees, rudbeckia and buying cheap

click photos to enlarge
An executive decision was taken in the Boughen household the other day. When it comes to buying flower seeds next year we are going to ignore the specialist suppliers and their higher priced, exclusive ranges endorsed by famous gardeners, and stick to the cheap and cheerful varieties. In truth we've never bought many "special" flower seeds, but this year they've proved a disaster, either featuring blooms that are not the colour advertised, producing far fewer plants than is reasonable from the number of seeds in the packet, or simply failing completely. We have not been happy!

In contrast, the inexpensive flower seeds that we bought have been very successful, doing exactly what it says on the packet, and filling the areas of our borders reserved for annuals with banks of colour. The rudbeckia, in particular, have been magnificent. A packet of seeds that cost a few pence, containing a mixture of different varieties in the colour range brown/orange/yellow has drawn me and my camera on a number of occasions. They did so again a few days ago when the wind had dropped, the sky was bright (but not sunny), and the blooms were at their glowing best.

I took several shots of the flower heads, of which the second image is probably the best. It uses a composition that I'm fond of, namely filling most of the frame with a single head (off centre), and making sure the remainder of the image has out-of-focus heads. However, once again the presence of bees led me to come away from my task with another image of the busy little workers, because as soon as I lined up a shot, as often as not one landed on the flower and began collecting pollen. This particular bee interested me because it looked like it was wearing a fur coat that was getting a good dusting of the yellow stuff. I'm aware that there are a number of different kinds of bees that venture into gardens: some I recognise, but this one I didn't.

photographs & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35 macro (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/100 (400)
ISO: 400
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On