The Bee Tree

I am not a photographer and bear no illusions about ever being one. My composition skills are raw, and rarely cooked, and I lack the post-production sense that someone else would use to create art. My camera, the Leica Q2, is professional grade and seemingly beyond my skills. But I handle the all-in-one well enough, and it is satisfying to use—enjoyable and versatile.

I am a storyteller, however, and use photos to mark moments or to illustrate a  narrative. Take as example the Featured Image (warning: 30GB file), which I captured today along Georgia Street between Lincoln and Polk in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 11:36 a.m. PST. The original was portrait, but I cropped square.

As I approached the tree, a slow hum increased until reaching full intensity directly beneath. So loud was the buzz of bees, some of which could be seen taking off and landing for nectar, I looked around for a hive. Surely there had to be one, with so many bees buzzing. Well, that was something I wanted to remember.

Strange thing, 20 meters or so farther along, beneath another tree, I heard more bees busying about. Then I realized: The insects might be present on any day but drowned out by passing cars, road crews drilling, delivery trucks backing up, and a cacophony of other activities that rudely assault the ears. But on Christmas morning, these distractions were silenced.

That’s why the tree you see.