© Clay Bolt | www.claybolt.com

While shooting for National Geographic in San Francisco last week, Neil Losin and I hoped to find a beautiful endemic and very rare damselfly known as the San Francisco Forktail Damselfly (Ishnura gemina). One of the primary sites that it lives in is essentially a ditch on the side of the road near Fort Point. Unfortunately, we didn’t find flying adults because it is a bit early in the season. Instead, I turned my focus on the many bumble bees (dark color form of Bombus melanopygus) that were busy pollinating various wildflowers on the hillside. I became rather obsessed in getting a shot of an individual flying in front of the Golden Gate Bridge and out of many attempts I was able to make a photo that works pretty well. More and more, I’m finding the importance of using images like this to show our connection with nature and to draw attention to the fact that wildlife lives among us, wherever we may be!

Long-horned Bee (Eucera sp), Chattanooga, TN, Spring 2014 © Clay Bolt | www.claybolt.com

My multi-year project celebrating North America’s native bees is officially underway! I spent the last few days photographing species found in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee including this incredibly cute Long-horned Bee (Eucera species…possibly E. atriventris or E. dubitata). Species in this genus are important pollinators of sunflowers, alfalfa and other crops. Species in this genus are solitary, ground-nesting bees.