100 Days of National Parks: Day 31 – Golden Bee, Joshua Tree National Park

Golden Bee

Golden Bee
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I’ve mentioned it before, but I love the perspective a macro lens gives you on the world, particularly when I walk by a flowering bush surrounded by buzzing bees.  Normally, I avoid sticking my nose into the business of these industrious little pollinators, especially in the deserts of the southwest where they might be a little more aggressive than other bees.  With a macro lens on my camera though, my usual hesitation towards getting close to these guys is pretty much wiped away, and I find myself sitting next to them, letting them crawl on my arms, lulled into a sense of calm by the steady hum of their buzzing, and the focus I find trying to frame up the perfect shot.

There are so many reasons I love this particular shot.  The ragged tips of the bee’s wings, the glow in its abdomen from the sunlight passing through it, all the little hairs along its thorax and head, the hooks on its feet gripping the small petals and pistils of the flower.  All that detail can’t help but make you think about how much detail we miss in our everyday lives, how many things we overlook because we aren’t paying attention.

I think it’s tragic the way we overlook bees in general, and don’t think about how much they affect our very existence.  Around the world, bee populations are still in a rapid state of decline, as Colony Collapse Disorder ravages the numbers of these critical pollinators.  There is no one factor behind this, but all of them, from parasitic mites to pollution and pesticide use, to poor nutrition and lack of consistency in food sources, are manageable if we make an effort to address them.

A huge percentage of our necessary food supply is directly affected by the effects of Colony Collapse Disorder, and if bee populations continue to plummet, there is a serious danger that we will no longer be able to sustain human populations with available food resources.

Even the smallest things have a huge impact on the world, and with a little perspective, we can understand and appreciate the way we are all intertwined.

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