I took my Sinar F1 deep into the field today driving into the hills of North Dakota to work on a few projects. I discovered some incredible spots in places I'd never been before, but discovered a new challenge with large format:
When you have to stand still and fidget with the controls for so long, insects take advantage of me.
In the first spot, I found a blooming Canola field and set up my gear. I took about six frames over the course of an hour. While I was there, the biting flies took notice, and I have a few welts on my legs from where they found pay dirt.
In the second location, I found a bunch of big rock formations jutting out of some hilltops, and again set up my Sinar. This was all well and good at the first formation, and I took three frames. At the second spot, though, I was upwind of some beehives, and the little buggers got curious. First they started inspected my equipment (one sat on the tip of my hanging cable release for a bit, which caused a problem) and then they started inspecting me.
It went mostly OK, and then one of the bees flew into my ear, got scared and stung me. That's when I lost it for a bit.
I calmed down and took a frame. Then I noticed the clouds in the background were about to be replaced by some much better-looking ones.
This is how I found myself waiting for five minutes for a cloud to move into the right spot for my background, all the while keeping very still as four very curious bees crawled all over my limbs. The seemed to think my hairy legs would hold pollen somewhere, or maybe I got dusted with it walking to that Canola field.
How about you? You ever have trouble dealing with nature while patiently working to capture her beauty?
I have been buzzed by a Pepsis formosa while in Death Valley. But I was eating a sandwich in the heat and the smell probably attracted it. In general when hiking and photographing in the wilderness, I don't bathe with smelly soaps or wear anything with a smell. Also, certain colors attract certain insects, I especially notice blue and orange, so I generally wear brown and green. A backpacking headnet would also help, I always carry one, and it only weighs about 2 ounces and fits into a pocket. The biting flies are really annoying as they are attracted to sweat and the salts in it. The bees generally go after color or sweet smells like deodorants. Mosquitos are crepuscular and you need to either cover exposed skin or get a DEET type repellant. Clothing that covers the legs and arms and a headnet are the best.
Shot in a stone quarry and put up my tripod, without realizing it, next to a nest of earth wasps, I didn't have to wait very long before I got stung by six of these beasties. Wasps seem to go after dark colors and shapes. The more pronounced the contrast between the foreground me in dark blue and black and the background pure white stone the more likely they are to attack you.
Two weeks ago on the morning of the solstice, I got up to take pictures of the sunrise at 4:00 a.m. As I was driving to my location by the water's edge, I noticed what looked like rain falling in my headlights. It wasn't rain. It was a swarm of bugs so thick it looked like rain.
I didn't think much of it until I got out of the car and set up. By the time I was ready, my arms and legs were covered with bugs so thick you could literally scrape them off with a spatula.
Luckily, they were mostly gnats and caddis flies. Only a few mosquitoes and, very luckily, no deer flies or black flies.
There's always one thing you forget to bring with you on an outing and you never remember it until AFTER you need it. This time, it was bug repellant!
By the time the sun came up 95% of these bugs went away. Many of them are most active just before sunset and just after sunrise.
There are now TWO bottles of insect repellant under the seat in my car. ;)
I wear a full body mosquito net that is very light, and includs a cap with netting for the face. Underneath, I just wear my running shoes, short pants, and a t-shirt. The net lets through plenty of air for cooling and I rarely get bit. It does get hotter than without the netting, though. The hands and ankles are the only vulnerable places. I've spend hours in the Laurentian forest just north of Montreal in mid-May (the peak of bug activity in those woods). Looks funny but it works great. I bought the netting at a camping supply store. I was there just yesterday and the bug activity has dropped so much at this point in the summer than no net was needed. I'm not sure how the netting would deal with bees, as the major culprits here are mosquitos.
Was that a field of Genetically Modified Canola ???
That could possibly be extremely hazardous to your health ...
Enjoy The Weekend, And Patriotic Pageantry !
I was shooting at dusk once with the 8x10, developed the film and had the silhouettes of 4 mosquitos resting on the film. I guess they got in there during a lens change.
Generally speaking it is best to avoid any kind of perfume (your soap or your sun lotion can contain some, and obviously deodorants or God forbid perfumes, sorry if I treat you like a sissy ;) ).
Generally speaking it is best to avoid any non-mimetic colour because in the wild you don't want to disturb any form of life and you want to see wildlife. Colours like red can have specific meaning especially for birds and normally birds are guaranteed to become "nervous" when something red approaches, so when wearing brilliant colours you are going to see much less birds than when wearing mimetic clothes, and you might even disturb/prejudice some nesting more easily.
Bees fly to their pastures in straight-line routes. When an animal (including a photographer) stands in one of those straight lines they begin bothering him so that he moves away from the route. If some bees disturb you (they seem to be interested in interacting with you, not necessarily in a friendly way) sometimes it's enough to move a few meters to have them cease the disturbance, or so I'm told. I actually think I experienced to truth of this many years ago.
Generally speaking it is best to avoid short pants especially when laying down in the grass in regions with domestic animals such as sheeps, cows, horses, you get the farm. Those meadows are infested with lice which do not limit themselves to sheep but do maintain a prejudice-free opinion regarding acceptable food.
So funny! I always wondered why this particular bee kept bugging me. It was the size of a large flying black grape, I was in the middle of nowhere in Zion Nat Park trying to take a 5x7 image. Every time I went under the darkcloth the bee would zoom over and around me until I backed off away from the camera...the bee would then fly off towards some trees 30 feet away. Happened four times before I realized that I did not really need that image and packed up. And yep -- the darkcloth was bright white on the outside!
Originally Posted by Sirius Glass