Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

In Your Face: The Gorgeous, Gruesome World of Bug Photography

  1. 1

    "If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” Sam Droege, head of the U.S. Geological Survey's Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab, has taken legendary photographer Robert Capa's advice to a technological extreme, using macro photography to help scientists identify the 4,000 species of native bees that occur north of Mexico. Until recently, getting this close was too expensive to be practical; StackShot, a new rail that controls camera movement, enables Droege to make a series of images with just a Canon 5D bearing a 65mm lens. He then combines the images in Photoshop to create the sharpest photograph possible. It's easy to see what all the buzz is about.

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  2. 2

    Bombus bimaculatus, a two-spotted bumblebee

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  3. 3

    Chlamisus, a beetle

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  4. 4

    Chrysidid, a cuckoo wasp

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  5. 5

    Spider Wasp

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  6. 6

    Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  7. 7

    Tabanidae, a horse fly

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  8. 8

    Leucauge venusta, an Orchard Orb Weaver spider

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  9. 9

    Karner Blue, a butterfly

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  10. 10

    Halictus ligatus bee, covered in pollen from an unknown plant

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  11. 11

    A robber fly
    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  12. 12

    Osmia chalybea, a mason bee

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  13. 13

    Beetle, on glass

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  14. 14

    The pharyngeal teeth of a Grass Carp

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  15. 15

    Cuvette spider, or Christmas Lights Jumping Spider—species unknown, but surprisingly marked with fluorescent scales

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  16. 16

    Chrysochus auratus, a dogbane beetle

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  17. 17

    Tosale oviplagalis, a dimorphic tosale moth
  18. 18

    Exomalopsis analis, a bee

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  19. 19

    A detail of the leg of a Ruby Throated Hummingbird

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  20. 20

    A brown marmorated stinkbug

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  21. 21

    Centris haemorrhoidalis, a bee. For many more of Sam's bee photos, check out his Flickr photo stream.

    Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab