Monday, January 18, 2010

We are All Back in America

We are all here in New Jersey now. No more flights we can't talk about, we are in America. So whatever is left do we will do it here in America and then go home to Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Montana and wherever else people call home. The last plane arrived tonight at McGuire Air Force Base at 9pm. I was at the bottom of the ramp and got pictures of about 100 of the 170+ soldiers on the flight. It was much easier to shoot tonight for a variety of reasons.

1. Just about everyone on the plane was in our unit and from Pennsylvania so the VIPs shaking hands at the bottom of the ramp were all from PA. Last time there were VIPs from both PA and NJ. They formed parallel lines and the soldiers walked down the middle, so I could not shoot without someone's back to me.

2. I had only the flash on the camera which was not enough to shoot on the ramp--I know this now. I did not know it the first night.

3. A professional photographer from PA Headquarters shot video and reset my camera for higher light sensitivity. He also told me how he would be moving so I could use some of his light.

4. On the day of the arrival of the first flight, there was a colonel traveling with the VIPs who is also an amateur photographer. He was telling me how to shoot. He was also telling me that my job was to shoot the VIPs even though my assignment was to shoot the returning soldiers. At one point he pulled me by the shoulders to where he thought I should be. He proves the Army proverb I just made up that a high-ranking jerk is much worse than an ordinary jerk. In a couple of weeks when I am fully a civilian again, I will have more to say about what happens when a bully has rank. Thankfully, this guy did not show up with today's group.