A photo story if I ever had one: taking pictures at an apiary.
It seems almost romantic. Beekeepers are notoriously friendly, and my subject, Mark Dykes, fit the bill. It was all wonderful. Except for the fact that there were bees.
So many bees.
The shoot was spontaneous, so I showed up in shorts and flip-flip flops. The protective gear they had to offer me was a jacket and a face mask. The entire bottom half of my body was exposed.
I went in. Mark waved his hand at me to come closer. I thought, “Does he not see how many bees there are?” But he was barehanded. In a t-shirt. I had to suck it up.
I hid behind my camera. Using my viewfinder as my eyes, I approached the buzzing hive and snapped away. A few times bees landed on my fingers. They tickled, but didn’t sting. Mark smiled reassuringly.
Unscathed, I got the shots I needed. This shoot was really special to me because I faced a fear of mine. I gained a huge amount of respect for bees, beekeepers and journalism. It was one of the first times I was out of my comfort zone yet in control of the situation, and the reward was worth the risk.
If you’re interested in reading my article on bee populations rising, accompanied by the photo that went to print, see http://www.alligator.org/news/campus/article_47eb0244-7fb5-11e1-ae8c-001a4bcf887a.html