Photographing a Beekeeper

This collection of images is a self-motivated project during the lockdown.

I photographed my father Neville as he carried out his beekeeping. 

Like most business owners during the enforced Covid19 Lockdown of spring 2020, I have not been able to continue creating images for people.  As a result, I have found myself working a tremendous number of hours on the backend of my business and somewhat neglecting the urge to create with my camera.

When I made the decision to make time for my photography, I started looking close to home for anything of interest and quite fortunately for me, I didn´t have to think too hard as my father is a beekeeper with hives all around the edges of Woodstock.  

Like all the little critters out there, bee activity increases during spring and my father is kept very busy.

During spring, some bee colonies become a little swollen in numbers and their queens decide to leave the hive with half the workforce, in search of a new home.

With several beekeepers spread across the country, swarming bees take off at random from just about any village and fly together across neighbours gardens until they find a tree to land in. 

My father regularly gets calls at this time of year, from nearby villages where a swarm has left someone else´s hives and landed in a garden. When people don´t know where the swarm came from, they call my father and off he goes to capture them and take them to a safe new home, away from any houses.

On a few occasions now I have jumped in the van with him, bee suit on and raced off across the countryside to go help.

It´s like being on an emergency call out because you want to get there quickly.

The bees could decide to up and move off again before you get there, and then it´ll be really hard to figure out where they went. We also want to get there quick to reassure the people nearby. Having witnessed a dark buzzing cloud block out the sunlight before landing, the resident is often a little concerned and may not know enough about bees to know that they´re not in the least bit aggressive at this time. The bees are just looking for somewhere safe to take their precious queen and as they have no food stores to defend, they´re really won´t be a problem, but most people are still a bit concerned that someone might get stung, so the sooner we get there, the sooner we can reassure bystanders. 

So on a couple of these call-outs to swarming bees, I take my camera with and after relocating the bees to a safer space, I like to spend some time crawling around the beehives taking photos of them and my father as he works. 

This helps me get out of the house, away from the computer screen.

It gives my creative brain a subject to be active with and helps me to practice the art of storytelling through imagery.

The more often I can keep using my tools to exercise visual story-telling, the swifter my brain will naturally engage on the next subject. 

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