Sam Droege is the head of the USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Program in Maryland, an organization that monitors the health and habitat of bees in the U.S. as well as creating archival reference catalogs that aid researchers in the identification of bee species in North America. The project is no small task as there are literally thousands of bee species in the U.S., some of which vary in only the most minute ways that may not even be distinguishable to the naked eye.
To aid in the identification process the USGS Bee Inventory relies on extremely high resolution photography, an initiative led by Droege that has been ongoing since 2010. Droege’s macro photos of bees are so clear and well executed that they practically pass as works of art in their own right. He shares with Flickr:
“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.”