Floating Aloft

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Sergeant Chris Clark (right) and Sergeant First Class Teigh Statler with the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team jump from the team’s Fokker C-31A aircraft over Lake Michigan during their performance in the 2015 Gary Air Show in Gary, Ind., Saturday, July 11, 2015.

As the U.S. Army Golden Knight’s Fokker C-31A aircraft became light on its wheels and floated aloft from runway 12 at the Gary Chicago Airport, the team of skilled aerial performers seated ahead of me in the plane performed their ritual of donning their helmets in unison. It’s a ritual I’ve had the privilege of photographing each year since 2006 that the team has performed in Gary, Indiana, and I was thrilled to be back in the air for another opportunity. While theatrical lighting work this weekend prevented me from photographing and enjoying the air show as thoroughly as I typically would have, I was thankful to have a small portion of my schedule free to cover one of the Golden Knights’ morning jumps in this year’s 2015 Gary Air Show.

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Members of the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team rehearse their free-fall formations in a “dirt dive” at the Gary Chicago Airport prior to their performance in the 2015 Gary Air Show in Gary, Ind., Saturday, July 11, 2015.

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Pilot Brian Rontante with the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team sits on the team’s Fokker C-31A aircraft at the Gary Chicago Airport prior to taking off for a performance in the 2015 Gary Air Show in Gary, Ind., Saturday, July 11, 2015.

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Sergeant First Class Teigh Statler (left) with the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team secures his gloves as the team’s Fokker C-31A aircraft taxis down the runway at the Gary Chicago Airport prior to their performance in the 2015 Gary Air Show in Gary, Ind., Saturday, July 11, 2015.

Times photographer Jonathan Miano

Fellow photojournalist Jonathan Miano, seated across from me, readies his cameras prior to the team’s jump.

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Spectators line Marquette Park Beach on Lake Michigan during the 2015 Gary Air Show in Gary, Ind., Saturday, July 11, 2015.

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Sergeant Travis Downing (left) and Staff Sergeant Chris Clark with the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team check wind conditions on the ground prior to their jump over Lake Michigan as part of the 2015 Gary Air Show in Gary, Ind., Saturday, July 11, 2015.

Trees, green foliage, and railroad track aerial.

As I photographed this expanse of green foliage and swamp land with a railroad track cutting through it somewhere below us near Portage, Indiana, I fantasized about a set of shiny new red diesel locomotives pulling a train trough the frame. #photographerproblems

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Staff Sergeant Chris Clark (left) and Sergeant Travis Downing with the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team share a laugh while flying in the team’s Fokker C-31A aircraft en route to a performance in the 2015 Gary Air Show in Gary, Ind., Saturday, July 11, 2015.

10_goldenknights_071115(Top to bottom) Sergeant First Class Corey Hood, Sergeant Chris Clark, and Sergeant First Class Teigh Statler with the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team free-fall over Lake Michigan during their performance in the 2015 Gary Air Show in Gary, Ind., Saturday, July 11, 2015.

11_goldenknights_071115Members of the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team fall in formation over Lake Michigan while performing in the 2015 Gary Air Show in Gary, Ind., Saturday, July 11, 2015.

Posted in Aviation, Photography, Photojournalism on July 12th, 2015. No Comments.

Lighting Linus

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Snow blows through the air above St. Nicholas Church in East Chicago, Ind., early Monday, February 2, 2015. The image was created by back-lighting the church with a 600 w/s strobe, fired remotely via a PocketWizard unit.

I’m not sure what it is about major snow emergencies that gets my creative juices pumping, but during the bad winter storms we’ve had over the past few years, I’ve repeatedly gotten the urge to gear up and make some unique visuals amidst Mother Nature’s chaos. Some of you might remember my Vapor Chill video from last year, where I lit clouds that formed from tossing boiling water into the frigid air. There was also my Snowpocalypse Voicemail Remix from 2011, where I juxtaposed my friend Jeff Grafton’s message about his power going out with doomsday footage of the blizzard from around my neighborhood.

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Posted in Experimental, Photography on February 2nd, 2015. 2 Comments.

Goals, Growth, and Gratitude: 2014 Retrospective

01_2014_yearendLightning strikes the Willis Tower following a severe thunderstorm as seen from Solidarity Drive, Monday, June 30, 2014.

“Do you ever wonder how many times your life is gonna end? Like how many people you’re… like how many times your life is gonna totally change and then, like, start all over again? And you’ll feel like what happened before wasn’t real and what’s happening now isn’t actually…”

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Play Like You Work

01_wallenda_110314Nik Wallenda walks on a 3/4″ cable stretched 600 feet above the Chicago River between Marina City and the Leo Burnett Building as seen through a bridge traffic gate on Wabash Ave. in Chicago, Ill., Sunday, November 2, 2014. Wallenda set a world record with this portion of his performance, with it being the steepest tightrope walk (19 degrees) between two buildings.

All across the world, photographers follow many tried-and-true rules to capture the best images. Of course, there’s the “Sunny 16″ rule. There’s also the one about your shutter speed being equal or higher to the focal length of your lens to avoid blur. And, from the Guy Rhodes photo rule book: When a world record attempt is taking place less than an hour from home, assignment or not, you must photograph it.

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Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Pop Culture on November 3rd, 2014. No Comments.