7 Days, 7 Photos...
I was nominated by Iúile Julia Kirch for a 7 Day Photo Challenge on Facebook. I'm going to take a slightly different approach... I'm going to post photos from where my journey in photography and, more specifically, aviation photography started. I've been fortunate... Been a lot of cool places and seen a lot of cool things. Had opportunities that others won't ever get. I figured that sharing them in a blog would be a more effective use of this opportunity. Let's see how it translates. Feel free to add commentary or ask questions.
I'm hoping that through these images, you can see the growth that has occurred in the past 14 years and understand that developing as a photographer just takes persistence and dedication to what you do, as it does with anything. I was just fortunate to have incredible subjects and never said no to any opportunity that presented itself.
Here we go....
My first duty station was NAS Meridian in Mississippi. It was THE PERFECT first duty station for a newly minted Air Traffic Controller. More traffic than we knew what to do with. We had numerous young, inexperienced fighter pilots in training who made our work challenging by making honest newby mistakes, mixed with high time, combat ready razor sharp fighter pilots who would do exactly what they were supposed to do, yet challenged us on an incorrect instruction. We had a very flexible airspace where things just worked, and pilots and controllers gave each other a lot of room to make things work. And we had an incredible community at NASMER and the towns of Meridian, Jackson, Tuscaloosa, and Birmingham to spend time off. Awesome memories of NASMER...
This shot was shot taken 6 or 7 months after buying my Nikon D70. It was the first shot that I had taken that I knew that I had a gift. This whole afternoon was, really. The sunset provided the backdrop and I just took what I could get. I honestly had no idea how a camera worked at this point. I would aim and shoot, tweak settings and reshoot. Shoot, and tweak focal point and aim point. It was the steady progression of growing as a photographer. This is also one of the first shots that I showed my co-workers and had printed on cheap Costco paper. It is also my first piece of published work. It took 6 or 7 months of shooting almost everyday to get this.
Diego Garcia.... This was the "Footprint of Freedom". This is the place that I captured images that I have never seen duplicated. It's also where I felt like I was growing and developing as a photographer. I was able to better control my results more and was figuring out how to make my location work for me. I also felt like I was better able to capture more effectively what my mind was seeing and what my camera was producing. The D70 had served me well, but it was time to make a move to something more pro-sumer.
I had unique access, and unique opportunities at Diego because of relaxed atmosphere, the incredible Chain of Command, and a lot of networking. I was given the opportunity to fly a KC-135 4 hours north of Diego to the Arabian Sea where we would lay a track down and re-join with the B1 coming out of Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. I discovered this day how much planning and luck goes into finding each other, getting the airplane on the boom and completing the tanking. We met at 26,500 feet, carried the B1 for about 45 minutes and then did some off the boom shots.
When it comes to the editing of these photos, I was absolutely clueless with respect to editing. I fumbled around with a couple of programs, but Lightroom hadn't come into the marketplace at this point, and I was just trying to make images that I liked to look at.