Compound Eye

Compound Eye

The many facets of science photography

The Color of Honey


Nectar source makes a tremendous difference in honey color and taste. Here, a late summer wildflower blend (left) is contrasted with linden honey (right) harvested earlier in the season from the same hive.

This week I harvested a lovely linden honey (at right) from one of our backyard beehives. Nectar from linden flowers yields a honey that is exceptional both in its pale tone and in its strong flavor. Most light honeys taste light; that from linden is bold but sweet, ideal for salad dressings and marinades.

I wanted a photo.

Merely pointing a camera and shooting, however, was unlikely to fully convey the hue of the liquid. To best capture the harvest's translucent glow, light should travel through the honey on its way to the camera. That is, honey should be backlight. It should be photographed with the primary light source behind it.

I fired a single handheld strobe pointed not at the jars but at a white wall about half a meter behind. This diffuse backlighting coaxed a pleasing glow from the jars, and made for a dramatic backdrop in its own right.

How important is lighting from behind the subject? Compare the same scene shot with front lighting:

This photo is fine, but it, buzz.


The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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