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.
- Article on our mission behind this trip: http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123134410