Blowing the dust off my blog

and Opening the shutters…

On my camera, that is.  The time has come to shed new light on my photography skills. I’m starting with a set of creative exercises from the B&H Photography EXPLORA feature. There are 13 that I will try.

I’m going out of order; this one is Exercise 4: Artificial Restrictions.

Create restrictions for a day or weekend of shooting. Limits may include:

  • One prime lens
  • One location
  • B&W only
  • 4-5 P.M. only
  • Manual mode only
  • Overexpose/Underexpose everything
  • Spot meter only
  • Photograph while sitting
  • Only things above you
  • Only things below you
  • No people in the frame
  • No structures in the frame
  • Fill the frame
  • Negative space in more than three quarters of the frame

Force yourself forward with restrictions.

My Restrictions:  one location / one topic

These are the results. Can you guess the location? Can you tell what topic I selected?


In flight, I thought this was the largest bumble bee I’d ever seen. However, when “they” landed in the garden, what a surprise. Mating Yellow-faced Bumble Bees.

Enlight1524The Yellow-faced or Bombus vosnesenskii is native to the West Coast of North America from British Columbia to Baja California. Red salvia has been a popular attraction this summer.


Ceratina are tiny to medium-sized, shiny and nearly hairless, black or light metallic (green or blue) bees. The species is common throughout North America.


European Wool Carder Bee. This bee almost tricked me into thinking it was a hover fly. Like hover flies, they tend to hover around flowers; a behavior common in males while defending territory. Females shave fuzz of plant leaves with their mandibles. The fuzz is used to line nest cells. This is why the species is often dubbed “wool carder” bees.


Halictus, commonly known as Sweat Bees, are important pollinators. All are generalists and gather pollen and nectar from a variety of wildflowers and crops. They are thought to be key pollinators of carrots, onions, and sunflowers.


Summer wouldn’t be summer in Oregon without Woodland Skippers. These little beauties are just beginning to appear in the garden. The local ecology is perfect for Hesperlidae– canary grass to host caterpillars and plenty of flower nectar for butterflies.


A Paper Wasp and Honey Bee wait in the background for this Gray Hairstreak butterfly to vacate a popular feeding spot. This lovely little butterfly, Strymon melinus, is widely dispersed in North America. Its bright red eyespots are thought to deter possible predators.

Did you guess my location?  Can you tell the topic I selected?

Hint: The answers are in the Category caption at the beginning to the post.


  1. Lovely to see you back again and will be following your photographic quest with interest. The list of restrictions looks like a good way to hone in on skills. So enjoy your first topic and can relate to the subject matter and place. Guessing that all the photo ops are in your garden and probably range a few steps between the shrubs. I picture you having stilled your focus and waited patiently for the pollinators to come into your camera range. A pretty impressive array for a single shoot!


    1. I am glad, too.. learned about the Wool Carder Bee from a friend about a week ago. All bees have fascinating habits, but the Wool Carder Bee is quite unique!


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