High-resolution macro photos show amazing details of bees, won’t cure your fear of bugs

We know a bee as that insect that flies, buzzes, pollenates, makes honey, lives in a hive, and stings when provoked, but did you know there are thousands of bee species just in North America alone? That diversity requires documentation, which is the job of Sam Droege, who is the head of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory in Maryland. Droege has been photographing bees – insects that are crucial to the ecosystem – for the last seven years as part of the creation of an online reference system for researchers to help identify each species. While the stunning high-res photos are for scientific purposes, they also look like works of art, which were recently featured on Flickr’s blog.

Initially, Droege couldn’t achieve great success using standard microscopes. “We were taking pictures of bees through microscopes,” Droege said. “We literally attached cameras to microscopes, often with plumbing fixtures. But in the end, we were disappointed with the number of pixels and the amount of resolution of the photos. After a while, we largely stopped pictures through microscopes because the quality wasn’t up to our standards.”

But thanks to a macro photography technique used by the U.S. Army, which had been taking photos of insect infestations from foreign bases, Droege was able to achieve the photos you see here. The technique requires several shots of a dead bee and combine them using special software, which creates large detailed images of the bee without pixelation. 

“When we started looking at these pictures, I just wanted to gaze at these shots for long periods of time,” Sam says. “I had seen these insects for many years, but the level of detail was incredible. The fact that everything was focused, the beauty and the arrangement of the insects themselves – the ratios of the eyes, the golden means, the french curves of the body, and the colors that would slide very naturally from one shade to another were just beautiful! It was the kind of thing that we could not achieve at the highest level of art.”

After showing them to colleagues, Droege was encouraged to share these stunning photos via Flickr. You can check out the Flickr photostream here.

(Images via Sam Droege [USGSBIML]/Flickr; via Colossal

Photography

Camera shootout! Testing the latest Pixel, iPhone, and Galaxy Note in real life

Which takes the best photos, the Pixel 3 XL, iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 9, or Pixel 2 XL? We put the cameras on all these top-notch phones through their paces to see which performs best in the real world, from low light to portrait mode…
Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Product Review

Google’s Pixel 3 is a hair away from pocket-sized perfection

Google’s Pixel 3 smartphone is the best Android phone you can buy. It doesn’t have the best looks or the best hardware, but you’ll be hard pressed to find better software and unique A.I. functionalities.
Mobile

We toured the Google Hardware Store pop-up in New York: Here’s what it’s like

To show off its slew of new products, Google is opening up pop-up shops in New York and Chicago starting October 18. You'll be able to buy products -- such as the Pixel 3 or the Google Home Hub -- at the Google Hardware Store.
Photo Galleries

With its starburst design, the Joshua Tree Residence thwarts sand and spectators

Whitaker Studio expertly transformed a cluster of shipping containers into the Joshua Tree Residence, thus creating a stunning reprieve in the the stark desert landscape of Joshua Tree.
Cars

Out of this world rides: The best futuristic cars from science fiction movies

The sci-fi genre has produced some of the most memorable futuristic cars ever made, despite the fact that most will never see a public road. In no particular order, here are the best cars from science fiction movies.
Cars

The Morgan EV3 is a concept no longer — production begins in 2018

Morgan has introduced the EV3 concept, its second all-electric vehicle. Slated to go into production in 2018, the 3-Wheeler-based EV3 is powered by a 101-horsepower electric motor that spins the lone rear wheel.
Smart Home

Perched on a cliff, the Hawk’s Nest is a stunning artist retreat in West Virginia

Not wanting to disturb the natural environment of the limestone quarry it sits on top of, Wiedemann Architects uniquely designed the Hawk's Nest in West Virginia to be raised up off the ground and have majestic floor-to-ceiling views.
Cars

Survive the apocalypse (or just a week off the grid) with these zombie-proof rides

From hardcore off-roaders to weaponized people-carriers, there are many vehicles out there that can take on the apocalypse. We’ve compiled our favorite zombie-proof rides to get you through the end of the world.
Photography

From film to the iPhone, Sony World Photo Awards show the world's diversity

The Sony World Photography Awards has announced the Photographer of the Year, as well as category winners and student and youth prizes. See the images judges selected as the top photos of the year.
Smart Home

12 cool houseboats that will set your imagination adrift

From artificial lakes in eastern Germany to ports in Portland, Oregon, here are 12 houseboats that are as stunning as they are downright extravagant. They might just want to make you give up your landlubbing ways.
Movies & TV

Here’s what a MacGuffin is, and 15 killer examples that made movies memorable

Whether it's a lost soldier, a mysterious briefcase, or the plans to a cosmic weapon, these movie MacGuffins prove that it isn't always the object of an adventure that makes the experience memorable.
Outdoors

Live like a (coddled) astronaut in this lunar lander-inspired tiny home

A tiny home situated on the Columbia River in Washington looks like an Apollo lunar lander, and yet still manages to squeeze in a breakfast nook, bedroom, geodesic skylight, and other features in an open floor plan.
Photography

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.