06 September, 2019

I've been a pilot for a long time, flying both for pleasure and work. I've spent many enjoyable hours in the clouds and have many memories of adventures shared with my family and friends. I was even involved with a program called Young Eagles that introduced youth to the exciting world of aviation. Aviation was a very important part of my life, in fact it helped to define who I was. I was a pilot!

A few years ago I faced a sudden medical emergency that affected my vision. I was very fortunate to obtain emergency surgery to save my vision but there would still be some slight damage that could not be fixed. My pilots medical was immediately suspended ... I was grounded!! This closed a chapter in my life but thats not the end of the book.

I’ve enjoyed photography for over 45 years but only in a limited way. It definitely took a back seat to aviation. I began to explore photography from a different perspective, to take it more seriously and to explore all aspects of the art. I developed a passion which has begun a new chapter in my life and opening exciting new opportunities. I love my modern Fuji mirrorless digital cameras but I’ve also rediscovered film photography. I’m finding great pleasure working with vintage cameras and am back spending time in a darkroom. I find myself increasingly being approached by people 20-30 yrs, the digital generation, asking me to teach them about this “exciting new thing” called film photography. I find myself back mentoring young people, not in a cockpit but now behind a camera.

The photo that accompanies this article is about my life as a pilot. It’s a very personal image so let me explain the elements. The bottom right of the frame is my Aviation Document that holds my licence, medicals, my ratings and certifications. Bottom left is my original pilots license prior to the new Aviation Document. Middle left is a snapshot I took of of my son and dad following a very enjoyable flight. Top left in the background is the headset I used when I did my first solo flight. Middle right is my pilots logbook that records the details of every flight I’ve made. These elements are all slightly off focus because at the centre is the one most important element .. the gold pilot wings that my instructor pinned on me the day my life changed and I officially became a pilot.

There is something else here you don’t see that is every bit as important to this image. That is me, with my camera .. planning and thinking through the image in my head .. selecting and organizing the elements .. manipulating the light .. taking my time adjusting and recomposing to make a unique photograph that will capture memories .. and enjoying every minute! I am a photographer!
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