"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

"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

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

"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

Bombus bimaculatus, a two-spotted bumblebee

Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

Chlamisus, a beetle

Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

Chrysidid, a cuckoo wasp

Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

Spider Wasp

Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly

Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

Tabanidae, a horse fly

Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

Leucauge venusta, an Orchard Orb Weaver spider

Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

Karner Blue, a butterfly

Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

Halictus ligatus bee, covered in pollen from an unknown plant

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

Osmia chalybea, a mason bee

Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

Beetle, on glass

Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

The pharyngeal teeth of a Grass Carp

Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

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

Chrysochus auratus, a dogbane beetle

Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
Tosale oviplagalis, a dimorphic tosale moth

Exomalopsis analis, a bee

Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

A detail of the leg of a Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

A brown marmorated stinkbug

Photograph by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

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