The last week has been BUSY to say the least, BUT Amy and I are finally moved into our new place in Charlottesville, VA and really love our new digs! Amy found an apartment right at the buzzer just south of town that has plenty of room for the two of us. We’re surrounded by a ton of great amenities, including my personal favorite…Walnut Creek Park, that just so happens to host one of the best mountain bike courses in the area and it’s just eight miles down the road from me!
As you may or may not remember I am now full time with photography, which hasn’t meant much lately other than a corporate shoot, unpacking boxes, and rearranging our apartment, but I did find time over the last couple day to brainstorm how I want to revamp the blog to include these new photo frames. The blog has also been updated with some slight aesthetic changes with a BIG thanks going out to Greg Lavallee for all his help in recoding some of the dated HTML.
On to the images! During my August UTA weekend with the Reserves I was an ‘in demand kind of guy’…to say the least. I shot two promotion ceremonies, two retirement ceremonies, and set up a photo booth for the Family Fun day. Needless to say, I was swamped with work, but luckily we just added another troop to our shop who is very eager to shoot as well, so I was able to break away for a bit on Sunday to cover the retirement ceremony for MSgt Rodney Meyer.
I only met Rodney a month before during the July UTA weekend when he came by my office asking if I wouldn’t mind helping him out with a parting present that he was putting together for the squadron. Not being one to turn anyone away I agreed, and we soon got to know each other. The next UTA weekend he again stopped by my office to ask if I wouldn’t mind covering his retirement ceremony. A guy only retires once from the military (well, most of the time) and Rodney seemed like a genuinely good guy, so how could I turn him down??? Little did I know that this man was literally an institutionand will not soon be forgotten at the 459th.
Rodney served proudly for 28 years with the 459th alone which is just incredible to me! He’s unquestionably been an integral part of every aircraft to come across the ramp and finished out his career proudly as a boom operator. You may be asking yourself, “how does this goon (me) who’s only been part of that wing for six months know anything?” Well, I know all this because there wasn’t a dry eye in the packed auditorium.
After shooting two promotion ceremonies the day before in the same auditorium with an on camera flash, I decided to only shoot Rodney’s retirement with my 50mm F1.4 since the ceilings are incredibly low for such a large room and I wanted a more intimate feel to these images. The bokeh on this lens is awesome and it was a stellar performer all day with a few exceptions of back focusing.
Whenever the military gets together we of course have to have a bottle of hooch on hand. This was presented to Rodney as a gift for all the years he has selflesslyput in as the First Shirt at the Operations Squadron.
Taking a stab at Rodney for still being a C-141 load master at heart, the Operations Group Commander Col Muncy presented him with the “best picture” he could find of his old bird.
Rodney’s wife was a lot of fun too, in the above image she is surprised that she was recognized for all her years of support to the Air Force. Pictured Right, Rodney just could not get enough of that C-141 photo!
The MC for the event wrote a tune set to Fire and Rain to send Rodney off.
I wish I had more time to get to know Rodney, but one of the big downsides of the military is constantly saying goodbye to great people. However, if it weren’t for the military I’m sure that I never would have crossed paths with Rodney to begin with.
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