While this bee was going through a re-shoot, the lighting unit, a Canon MT-24EX Macro Twin Lite Flash, failed on the right side. This image is cropped from the previous 150 image focus-stacked image that I was not satisfied with, but I will share it now because I may not have the opportunity to re-shoot again this winter. I was attempting to show the tongue length with this stack, which is quite amazing but probably not unusual for bumblebees. I have used Lightroom to clean-up grit and dust, but most of the pollen grains remain.
The twin-flash was a used unit, purchased for $500 in 2010. I did not use it heavily, so it’s disappointing that it did not last longer. That is the problem when purchasing reconditioned or used equipment: outside condition is not necessarily an indicator of how often it has been actuated. The MT-24EX is not the perfect macro flash unit by any means, but with adaptations, it worked well when shooting at higher magnification with the MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo Lens. I will not replace the flash ($900 new!), but will set-up another more affordable system for the coming season.
(Photographed with white-box diffusion. Stacked in Zerene Stacker. Bee provided by Gary Anweiler)