I'm sure there are risks involved in every occupation. Sitting in a cubicle for 8 hours, you are bound to get a papercut or two. Staring at a computer screen all day, you might get migraines. But as a news photographer, I work in a different environment every day, so there are different hazards with each shoot. I've been at various crime scenes with distraught family members grieving the loss of a loved one. I've shot on the shoulder of busy highways and interstates. I've even set up a camera on top of a scissor-lift for a wide angle of a parade.
Last Friday, I was sent to a story about Florida bee farmers sending the insects to California to help pollinate crops there. I guess there aren't enough bees, so since they aren't needed in the Sunshine state right now, the Floridians are renting them to the Californians.
The shoot started out fine, with my reporter and the bee farmer near the hive wearing long sleeves and pants, while I hung back for a wider shot. I was dressed in my typical attire since moving to Florida - shorts and a polo. Everything started well, but it didn't end well.
My reporter and I needed to shoot a video piece to promote the story, and that's when I got attacked. It was as though the bees said, "Enough is enough. You are done."
I got stung on the left side of my forehead and on the top of my head at least once (see pictures), before we could get out of there. We took cover in our news truck. But we still didn't have the promotional piece the station wanted so we went back out to face the bees AGAIN.
This time, my reporter got stung twice but I was even luckier - getting stung about a handful more times AT LEAST!
I knew they hurt, but I didn't know how bad the stings were until I woke up the next day. My forehead was red from the first sting. The left side of my mouth was swollen so when I talked my mouth looked crooked.
The good news? At least I'm not allergic. Ahh, the hazards of the job as a news photographer. But I wouldn't trade it for a cubicle and paper cuts.