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An unplanned moment...

Doug and I recently collaborated on an air to air shoot for the 700th AS C-130s, who fly out of Dobbins ARB in Marietta, GA.  The squadron had reached out to me several months ago looking to create some updated images for their use, and after several months of planning and receiving all the necessary approvals and paperwork, we executed two missions during December. We were able to get some really great shots from various angles and over multiple different terrain backgrounds,  but we will save that for a later post with some more details.  In the meantime, I wanted to share one of my favorite images from these two flights.

Our first mission lasted nearly 3.5 hours and we were able to shoot nearly the entire time. However, the goal of our second mission was simply to get those few shots that we didn't get on day one, which meant spending nearly 3 hours sitting in the back of a C-130 while the crew executed their mission plan.  Now don't get me wrong, I was plenty satisfied to be there just as a ride-a-long, but it also gave me some time to fire off some test shots in the cargo space.  We had talked about grabbing some crew shots from the cockpit but Doug and I did not want to interfere with their check rides, so we left that for another time. 

While bouncing around on some of the low level routes transiting from Dobbins AFB to the airspace near Rome, GA I was testing some of the capabilities of my new Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 ED VR lens.  MSgt Greg Lee was the Loadmaster for both of our missions with the squadron and has over 25 years experience in C-130s.  Many of the pilots even commented he has more hours in the airplane then they do, combined!

I noticed him working on his iPad which cast just the right amount of light on his face and created great catch lights in the reflection of his glasses.  The ambient light surrounding him created a near silhouette so I cranked the ISO on my Nikon D4 to 3200 to get to a shutter speed I could hand hold for the shot.  Bouncing around in the back of the C-130 made for hand holding a shutter speed of 1/25th/sec a bit challenging to say the least, so I put the D4 on continuous high speed and fired off 3 shot bursts in order to get a sharp image.  This image was certainly not on our "shot list" but sometimes the unplanned moments tell some of the best stories.

In all I snapped 45 frames and while several of them were tack sharp, I like the gesture in this frame the best.  Msgt Lee was a gracious host in his "office" space for both of our missions and Doug and I were very appreciative of his support during the flights.  We owe MSgt Lee, and all the other service members, many thanks to for their dedication and service to our country!


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