Where the heck did that saying even come from? Do bees actually have knees? I watched The Social Dilemma and now I don’t want to use Google. Is there a book where I can find out if bees have knees? Shelving that for another time. Let’s talk about Hank and his bees.
Late last February, I took a trip to Maui to shoot Hank Gaskell for Patagonia. The timing for the trip was based on the weather. The forecasted winds and waves looked good for surfing and diving. In between those shoots we took a morning with his bees and spent some time with his girlfriend, Malia Lauer.
Hank had looked at the hive a few days before and let me know it wasn’t going to be a massive harvest, did I still want to shoot? Yes. There are times when shooting that you take unplanned opportunities; you may not get them again.
Since I’ve gotten to know Hank, I have learned the hard way to take his assessments of situations as being dangerous or not with a grain of salt. If you meet someone from Hana and you go do an outdoor activity with them that they tell you isn’t potentially harmful, evaluate it. There is a different perception of safety because of the environment they grew up in. When Hank said, “stay calm and cover all your skin, you should be good. You get used to stings.” I thought, “This means, I need to be placid, double-check my skin is covered, and stings will not feel good.”
I started out cautious Christa style with my 70-200mm lens. I’ve always harbored a fascination for how vitally important bees are to the environment as a whole. This shoot played into that. Hank and Malia worked methodically, flowing from each task, quietly communicating. Then as the process of going through each hive progressed, I became a little braver. I fell into my rhythm and forgot about being concerned about getting stung. I transitioned to my fisheye lens for a couple ideas, switched to 16-35mm, and then back to fisheye to finish extra close. The bees could have given a flying fart in space about me and my lens.
Later, Hank and Malia put the honey into mason jars and handed me one. Fresh honey–that’s the bee’s knees.
Float like a butterfly, sting like a Funk
Dear Reader, that catchy closing line is under construction as Funk’s don’t have wings to float / fly with or it may endure the test of time, stay tuned, dun dun dun