Located in Yorktown, Virginia, I started taking pictures in 1983. My older brother gave me my first SLR camera – a Minolta XG-M – with a couple of lenses. I took that camera to an airshow at Travis Air force Base in California and instantly fell in love with photography.
I consider myself a semipro photographer. During my Air Force career, I served as an aircraft mechanic and occasionally had the opportunity to photograph the airplanes I worked around. During the late 1980s I won a several Air Force photography contests and placed several of my photographs with a military related stock agency where I had several images published.
In 2004 I went digital and purchased my first Nikon camera – the D70. I currently shoot with a D850 and have a D800 as a backup. For general photos of planes on the ground or for close-up work, my lens of choice is the Nikon ED AF-S Nikkor 28 – 300mm. when shooting the performers at airshows, I’ll use a Tamron 150-600mm lens.
I prefer to shoot RAW images because I want all the captured data available when I process the image. I use Lightroom for my image processing and move into Photoshop only for tasks that Lightroom can’t handle.
In 2012 I learned about ISAP from my good friend Jay Miller when we reconnected after several years. I joined ISAP and remained a member for five years until I let my membership lapse.
I guess my love of aviation photography stems from my years in the Air Force working around airplanes. I thoroughly enjoy photographing military aircraft, especially those from the World War II era. To me these warbirds (be they WWII or current era planes) represent the daily sacrifice made by our military men and women and the freedom we enjoy because of their sacrifice.
I also enjoy scenic photography. I can’t describe the feeling I get from seeing the snow-capped Grand Tetons reflected in the Snake River in the early morning. So, I take a picture and hope that everyone who sees it gets that same feeling.
My advice for photographers new to aviation is to listen and learn from your aviation peers. I attended my first ISAP Symposium in 2012 and learned a great deal from the other members that attended.