It’s safe to say natural history photographer Clay Bolt is obsessed with North American bees. What began with a few photos in his backyard in South Carolina back in 2014 has turned into a full blown project aimed at helping document the staggering diversity of North American bees.
After accidentally photographing two different species of North American bee in his own backyard, Clay began doing some research and learned that there are over 4,000 native bee species in North America. “As I began to do more research, I realized that so little was known about our native species, and so at that moment I realized that I could use my photography to begin to tell some of those stories,” he tells Slate.
And that’s exactly what he’s done, documenting the beauty and diversity of North American bees for his project titled “Beautiful Bees.” Below is just a small selection of the many many (many many) photos Clay has captured out in the field: