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Earlier this year I headed up to Shasta County to photograph Stayer’s Quality Queens, Matt Stayer’s family run queen bee breeding business. I followed Matt and his workers around one day at the height of the queen bee demand in the April when beekeepers need queens for their hives to pollinate orchards and farms. In nature, worker bees create a queen by feeding the larvae “royal jelly” when a queen dies or if the hive gets too big.

Matt and his employees raise queens by transferring or “grafting” freshly hatched larvae from a donor colony into man-made cell cups. The bees feed the larvae “royal jelly” and then after the queen hatches she’s moved to a small half-hive out in the field to make sure she’s is capable of laying eggs. Once she’s checked, she’s collected along with other queens and mailed to beekeepers all over the country where they will start hives and get to work pollinating. Then the process is repeated. Matt keeps track of the lineage. It’s an insect/farmer partnership- I love the science!

Matt Stayer out in the field, checking hives and collecting queen bees.

Workers check starter grafts that are just a few days old.
Out in the field the team finds queens that will be sent to beekeepers all over the country.
(Clockwise from left) A worker checks a hive, queens are packed to send. A queen is identified by her size. She controls the hive with the pheromones she releases. She can lay up to 2000 eggs a day depending on her age, the weather, food and the subspecies.

I’m excited that Marin Living Magazine featured my bird refuge photos in their recent magazine. Visiting the refuges during the pandemic was my refuge too. There’s such a diversity of creatures at the preserves and the sounds as well as the sights were unforgettable. Imagine hearing thousands of wings circling above you, or the strange call of the sandhill crane, a bird that has been around 2.5 million years. There are at least a half a dozen wildlife refuges within two hours of the Bay Area and each one is a little different. They’re all part of the Pacific Flyway and together they provide a winter home for thousands and thousands of birds. Check out the digital magazine here.

Photoville’s The FENCE

I’m honored that my plastic Throwaways series was picked to be part of The Fence exhibit, a multi-city show that features 85 photographers. It’s the perfect pandemic art show, photos are printed big on weatherproof material and exhibited on fences in 11 cities year round in North America. It doesn’t come to the Bay Area but you can see it in Atlanta, Seattle, New Orleans, Sarasota and Fargo right now. Other cities include Brooklyn, Calgary, Denver, Durham and Houston. I hope I’ll be able to see it when it’s safe to travel again. For more information check out the Photoville FENCE website.

Installation in New Orleans
© James Collier instagram: @jamescollier
Installation in Durham, NC. A small viewer checks out my series. Photo posted by Katheryn Beaudet on Instagram.
Installation in Denver ©Samantha Johnston

I’m honored to be included in food photography art show opening this Friday October 2nd 4-9pm at 816 Folsom St that includes 19 top San Francisco food photographers. Chef and owner Peter Hemsley found me and picked some new work and old favorites for this show. The gallery is open to 10 people at a time, all the work is for sale and you can get a meal safely on their redwood planked terrace open Tues – Sat 5-9pm. Come see the show and have an amazing meal while your at it. Check out all the artist’s work here.

Gallery Installation of Flavors of Photography Show

Last August I got sent to a ranch! Aspen Meadows Pack Station at Pinecrest has about 100 horses and they will take you out horseback riding, fishing, or to your backpack camp in Emigrant Wilderness. The ranch is family run and most of the cowboys and cowgirls have worked there for years. They’re the nicest people you’d hope to meet and visiting them is like stepping back in time. They eat together, bunk together and there’s no internet! So much fun and such a beautiful place; definitely book an adventure with them this summer.

My veggie burger shoot just came out in Sierra Magazine. For this project I shot everything separately and then the photoshop began…