Mayflies swarm above the Rába at night. Photograph by Imre Potyó
Photography is often all about patience. A photographer might wait hours or even days to get a shot.
Even by that measure, Imre Potyó is a man of exceptional perseverance. He spent 12 days waiting to make this amazing photo of mayflies over the Rába river in Hungary.
The tiny insects, called Ephoron virgo, are but a few months old when they take to the air at the end of July or start of August. Great swarms appear over the rivers of central Europe at sunset to mate by the millions, only to die by dawn.
Imre Potyó first photographed a swarm in 2013. “I was impressed by the wonderful dance of the mayflies,” he says.
Last year, he decided to try shooting the mayflies against a starlit sky. Because no one can ever say just when the flies will appear, Potyó returned to the banks of the Rába night after night.
Finally, the creatures appeared in a whirlwind. “I was standing on the river, so me and my equipment were totally covered by the huge masses of buzzing mayflies,” he says. “They were all around me.”
Potyó took over 200 photos in about two hours with his Nikon D90, but the final image is a composite of two shots. First, he used a fast shutter speed to capture the mayflies’ erratic movements, illuminating them with a flash and a flashlight.
Then he made a 30-second exposure focused on the stars above.
Native blue-banded bees. (Credit: Fish Fidler/Flickr)
by Becky Crew
This has to be one of the prettiest bees in the world.
Named for the beautiful turquoise bands that run across its abdomen, the blue-banded bee (Amegilla cingulate) sports a lush golden and white fluff, enormous green eyes, and tan-coloured wings that look like crisp layers of cellophane.
Males can be distinguished from females by the number of blue bands they display – males have five while the females have just four.
Adult blue-banded bees typically grow to between 10mm and 12mm.
The species is found all over Australia, except in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
It’s also native to Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, East Timor, Malaysia, and India, so it enjoys a pretty healthy range, spreading out everywhere from urban areas to open fields and dense, tropical forests.
It’s rumoured they’re attracted to blue and purple flowers, perhaps because they could blend into their surroundings when collecting pollen from them, but this has yet to be proven.
They are known to frequent lavender plants, however, and according to the Australian Museum, they appear to be attracted to people in blue clothing.
But it’s cool because these bees are non-abrasive, and don’t move around in intimidating swarms like other species, they live solitary lives in little burrows in the soil or the crevices of rocks.