My First One Hit Wonder

I took this photo during one of my travels with the U.S. Air Force in 2009.  I was a pilot on this KC-135 when we landed at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan while on a mission to transport military medical patients to Landstuhl U.S. Army medical center in Germany.  After we flew in, we refueled the aircraft and then onloaded about a dozen patients who arrived in this scissor-lift ambulatory transport.  While they were being transferred onto the airplane, I went outside and took as many long-exposure shots as I can, using different f-stop and shutter settings.  This one came out particularly well.  I provided the photo to the public affairs group at my home unit.  They published it on our unit website; within a week, the photo was featured on the U.S. Air Force website as a “photo of the week”…a huge honor and recognition for USAF photographers!  They even published a whole article on my crew’s experience on this trip here.  It was also published on the back cover of Airman magazine.  As a public domain photo, it is available for anyone’s use; I’ve seen the photo published inside a think tank publication that covered military air refueling issues.

This photo validated my efforts to become a serious photographer (and my investment in the Nikon D90 DSLR body which I bought about three months earlier) and gave me bragging rights. For a long time, I considered this as my One Hit Wonder, similarly to how some music performers have a single blockbuster hit, but never able to re-achieve the same level of fame ever again in their careers.  However, I did manage a second publication recently, which I will discuss in a future post.

Afghanistan Airlift

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