Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The fear factor

Nothing rattles me on assignment. Well, almost nothing. Even though I enjoy photographing things that fly I have my limits. What could have rattled my cage on assignment? Bees

Working on the story about the decline in the bee population I visited a beekeeper and his collection of the insects.

There is an old saying that if your photos are not good enough you are not close enough. Swell, so I had to get close to the bees as they crawled and buzzed about their honeycombs.

How do you know when an assignment is starting to turn bad? You have conversations that sound like this:
Beekeeper: “Are you allergic to bee stings?”
Photographer: I’m not sure, I don’t think so.”
Beekeeper: “Well if you stop breathing you are.”

Nice. So I start to inch closer to the hive and the mass of bees milling about.
Photographer: “Will the bees mind if I use a flash?”
Beekeeper: If they get angry they usually go for the eyes.”

Nice. So I pick a spot and start shooting. I keep getting the kamikaze bees flying into the back of my head but I try to keep still. Finally I just come short of freaking out and decide to shoot from a discrete distance with a long lens.

I tried not to make any sudden moves but still found myself jerking away as a bee would land on my hand or buzz close to my face. I managed to make it out of the assignment with out one sting. It’s hard to look cool on assignment when you want to run to your car swatting anything flying near you. I get all the fun assignments.

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