Austin-based photographer Kimberly Davis had been on the radar of DK Media for quite some time. After seeing Kimberly’s barbecue portfolio, they reached out to her to see if she could translate those same storytelling skills to their latest book for author Tanya Phillips.
Tanya, a well-known beekeeper in Austin, was just starting to pen her latest release Beginning Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Make Your Hive Thrive!, and Kimberly was more than happy to provide images to help illustrate this instructional book.
I conveyed to them that I cared about the subject of this book. I believe the statistic is 1 in 4 bites of food come from bee pollination. I have a young daughter, and I want to do all I can to promote a healthy thriving planet for her future and the future of her children.
Kimberly realized that it was important to photograph the apiary and it’s activities in the early morning hours because it is best to achieve delicate soft lighting and the bees are calmer then. However, the light she needed wasn’t around for very long, so she found herself going back and forth as the seasons changed to get all her winning shots.
For some of those summer shoot days, I was done photographing by 9:30 am mainly because the sun was up so fast. I drove out there at least 20 times, many shoot days were longer as the seasons changed but we always started in the morning. Even though the sun was a major factor in the lighting, I also used a strobe with a battery pack to fill in the shadows and also freeze the action of the bees.
One of the items on the shot list was to photograph a swarm of bees. The challenge here is that bees naturally break out from the hive with the old queen and create a new hive, only there isn’t any notice, and by the time one might arrive to photograph it could already be over.
One day I went to go get my strobe to pack up, and I looked up, and there were bees everywhere above me. The beekeepers think it was a neighboring hive that swarmed. So that worked out great because I was able to photograph it.
And while Kim was lucky in regards to unexpected surprises, she was however not too keen on the often fiery temperament of her buzzing subjects.
I was stung one time in the head after an angry bee got stuck in my hair. I had never been stung by a bee before, but after that day I wore my hair up in a ponytail for every shoot! I did get more than my share of chigger bites, though. If I forgot to put on bug spray I was covered! I don’t miss that!
While Kim doesn’t have any plans to start her own hive in the near future, she still realizes the importance of purchasing honey from a local sustainable source, and she’s thrilled with the library of beekeeping images she now has.
One of the great things about this book is anything the publisher didn’t use, I own. I have a great selection of stock images now, many already available on Offset.
See more of Kimberly at kimberlydavisphotography.com