Lost in Oscar Hotel is Out!

Hey­­ everyone. If you follow the site, you’ve probably seen me post work I’ve done for the book Lost in Oscar Hotel. I’m excited to announce that the book is now out in both hardback and digital formats on Amazon.com.  We’re also running a giveaway to win a copy over on the Lost in Oscar Hotel Goodreads page.

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For those of you who may not know Lost in Oscar Hotel is a book on aviation in Ohio, and is a collaborative effort of a group of students and professors, spear-headed Kent State Professor Gordon Murray (check out the project’s main site here http://www.lostinoscarhotel.com/ ). The book primarily follows Murray and his fellow Cub Cadet pilot, Ron Siwik, as the two attempt, “The first, longest, slowest and most peculiar flight to Wright Brothers Airport ever made,” landing at an airport in every county in Ohio, culminating at the historic Wright Brothers Field. Murray writes,  “For nine days, from sunrise to sunset, we flew. We spent 36 hours and six minutes in the air, tracing a 1,809 nautical mile route over Ohio’s countryside at a thousand feet above the treetops. Sometimes, we would fly low and slow enough to shout a greeting to farmers waving at us from the fields below. For a short while Ron and I, along with photographer Gary Harwood, brother Mike, old Tom and a handful of family, friends and students, all unwittingly became Ohio’s good will ambassadors of flight—honoring the legacy of the Wrights in the Birthplace of Aviation. We were good enough.”

While Murray and Siwik were in the air, the rest of us were covering the state, exploring Ohio’s living legacy of flight through the men and women who have devoted much of their lives to the ideals of freedom and adventure that inspire flight. I saw planes passed down through generations, teams of people who gave literal hundreds of hours to restore classic aircraft, and the fraternities of pilots united through the singular experience of flight.

If you live anywhere near Kent, Ohio, come out to the Kent State University book store to meet me and all of my fellow collaborators for a signing Wednesday, April 9th  from 12pm-2pm. They’re all fantastic photographers and writers, and I was so lucky to get a chance to work with them. We all put a ton of work into this labor of love, and I can’t wait to see where Lost in Oscar Hotel takes me now that it’s been published.

 

 

The Year In Review

A full year. Since I graduated. Since I proposed. Since I started freelancing. Since I started the site to keep myself in practice. I suppose that I should take a hard look back at 2013.

                Let’s start by looking at things from a purely objective standpoint and take a look at the numbers.

  • Numbers Total Hits: 9,709
  • Overall Average Hits Per Day: 27
  • Most Hits In A Single Day: 283
  • Total Number of Followers: 110
  • Total Number Of Posts: 205
  • 205 posts/ 365 Days= 56.1% of Daily Goal
  • Then again, I was working 60-80 hours a week the last two months of the year, so taking off November and December, we get 196 Posts /304 Days= 64.5%

 What do these numbers tell us? Well, they tell me that I need to do better. I While I have started writing, editing video, and dabbling more with graphic design, I haven’t come as far with branching my skills as I would have liked. And yes, I have been shooting daily, it hasn’t necessarily been what I want to be working on.

It might be fair to say that I’ve been… disconnected. After I graduated, I lost all of the resources available to me through the university. That doesn’t just include the photo gear and technology, but the connections though fellow students and teachers. Add all that to the fact that my car died early this year, and funds have been relatively low. So, with no money, no car, and no connections, it honestly felt like a year adrift.

But, those are just the numbers and the setup. What did this year in photos actually look like? (Be sure to click to open in theater mode. There’s a cut line for each one of these. )

Where does that leave me? I wouldn’t call the year empty, and I can’t say there was nothing fulfilling.  I wouldn’t say that I didn’t grow, but I still feel like I could have been more. I feel like I’m falling behind my peers. All I can do is try to keep at getting myself off the ground this year.

I photographed this collision with my cell phone on my lunch break. Thankfully, there were no fatalities. The photograph was picked up by one of the local papers.

I photographed this collision with my cell phone on my lunch break. Thankfully, there were no fatalities. The photograph was picked up by one of the local papers.

Still, with everything I shot this year, one photo stands out more than anything I did. It was the photograph I took on my lunch break with cell phone of the car crash. It reminded me how much I can care; not just about news, but about people. I had just finished Dave LaBelle’s Lessons in Life and Death, and learned just how much photographs of tragedy can help those involved cope and come to terms with those events. I felt like I had a responsibility.  It reminded me that no matter where I am, or what I’m doing with my life, that drive for journalism, and news is always there. I’m never going to give up.

Kent Air Show

I took a few hours to go shoot Kent’s annual air show for Lost in Oscar Hotel this weekend. Don’t forget to scroll over the photos; some have captions. Fun fact; I listened to Kenny Loggin’s Danger Zone on repeat while editing this shoot.

Six Month Retrospective

Wow, it’s been about half a year since I started this site. So, I thought that a quick retrospective would be interesting, so I rounded up a handful of some of my favorite photos thus far. I have a ton of ideas I want to try, unfortunately, life has a habit of getting in the way. I hope that the best is yet to come.

The Complete WACO Club Fly-In Experience

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Rocking my new hat, I snapped a quick self portrait using my reflection in the steel of a biplane.

I got a last minute email from one of my former professors asking me if I could head down to Wynkoop airport to photograph a big annual WACO Club Fly-In for our aviation book, Lost in Oscar Hotel .  After wrapping up some work for my other various jobs, and a hectic packing process, I hit the road to Mt. Vernon.

            I arrived later in the evening, so I had missed most of what was going to happen that day, so I made my way over to the camping area where some of the pilots were staying overnight. Exhaustion from a full day’s work and the long drive out, combined with the fact it was already too dark to see, I delayed setting up my tent and just slept in the car.

            I was up by 6am, and hit the ground running to make the most of the sunrise lighting and meet the pilots.

I even managed to get a few wide angle GoPro shots to get a unique perspective on the planes.

Unfortunately, things slowed down around noon. Most of the few pilots who were coming had already arrived, the heat had driven most people into the hanger and under the tents, and the lighting wasn’t good for much of anything by that point. However; it did give me the opportunity to slow down a bit, grab some lunch, talk with the pilots about potential stories, and even swap some tips with some of the event’s other photographers.

A particular highlight was this photographer’s homemade monopod. The left hand grip for stabilization was an awesome idea, and he even had rigged up a follow-focus. 

A massive storm came up out of nowhere. Those who couldn't make it under the tents in time hid under the planes' wings.

A few minutes later, the sky opened up, forcing the Wynkoop visitors under whatever cover they could find. Fortunately, I was already under

the main tent conducting an interview as the downpour started. It gave me the opportunity to shoot those who had ducked under their planes’ wings for cover.

Just taking shots from under the tent wasn’t quite enough for me though. After tucking my camera into my bag and making a break for my car, and stashing my Nikon, I braved the storm with my waterproof GoPro. I was soaked and freezing after, but it was worth it to get the tighter shots.

Eventually, the storm blew over. Most of the crowed trudged through muddy mess that was formerly the air field and headed home. I stuck around to get a few more photos and a couple more interviews, but it was mostly mop-up work. I wound up leaving around the time the pilot’s banquet started since there wasn’t much of anything left to cover, 

 

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Dispite the poor weather and low turn out, I had a blast covering the WACO meet up. Anything for Lost in Oscar Hotel is usually a blast, and I almost always wind up with some killer photos. I even got a bonus free hat, courtesy of Brian, the awesome Wynkoop worker.

With all of the photo editing done, I can move on to typing up the stories, conducting interviews with the contacts I made, sending off photos, and maybe even do some layout work for the book.

WACO at Wynkoop Airport

I got a last minute email from one of my former professors asking me if I could head down to Wynkoop airport to photograph a big annual meeting of WACO biplane pilots for our aviation book, Lost in Oscar Hotel . It was a great experience, even with the storms cutting the attendance by more than half. Even with the rain though, I was able to track down a handful of decent photos and a few potential stories for the book.

I still have about 2/3 of the editing left, so I’ll do a bigger post once I get those done. I just wanted to get this up in the mean time. So, keep your eyes out for more on Wynkoop.