Pollen-Eyed Bee Takes Nikon Photography Prize

Science Shot    By Hanae Armitage  October 14, 2015

Photo: Ralph Claus GrimmIf honey bees were publicity hounds, this one might have stars in its eyes. But the winning entry in this year’s Nikon Small World photography competition has an eye full of pollen instead. Photographer and former beekeeper Ralph Grimm captured this extreme close-up after 4 hours of a painstakingly careful setup. Grimm, a high school fine arts teacher, says he hopes to call attention to the honey bees’ continued struggle to regain a stable population. Honey bees are a crucial facilitator in food diversity and stability—contributing more than $15 billion to crop value annually in the United States. But over the last decade or so, the bees have fallen victim to a number of problems like parasites, pesticides, and disease, causing their numbers to dwindle 30% each year since 2006. Grimm tells Nikon that his image, though beautiful, comes with a word of caution—we need to stay connected to our planet by listening to little creatures, like bees.