Every journey has to start somewhere. My journey into aviation photography started over 20 years ago when my father took me to the Rockford Airport to see my first airshow.
I hate to admit it, but the only performer in that show that I remember was the Confederate Air Force's B-29, affectionately known as "FIFI".
Surprisingly I still have one image of "FIFI" from that day, taken with a Bell & Howell Picture Master camera.
I didn't know it at the time, but that day
was my first step down a long, wonderful, and adventurous path. During the next 20 years my appreciation and admiration of aviation deepened.
There were many exciting developments and some heart breaking endings with the loss of several great performers and some incredible aircraft.
As my passion for photography progressed, so did my choice of cameras. Over the years I have used several. My very first camera was a
Bell and Howell Picture Master, then I moved on to a Minolta Maxxum Series film camera. Later, I stepped into the digital age with a Sony A700. It was amazing
having that instant feedback on the settings. I am currently shooting with one of Canon's best, the 7D Mark II and use various "L" Series lenses.
I love shooting all forms of aviation, especially military jets and Heritage Flights. The retirement of the F-14 Tomcat, SR 71 Blackbird, and F-117
Nighthawk, was a great disappointment for me. It was hard to believe that I would never be seeing these beautiful aircraft grace the skies again.
As with any journey it is filled with highs, lows, and plenty of course corrections. I could almost write a book about those events, but I believe that I have
finally found my place. I am blessed to have been given many different photo opportunities, but the jewel of my career to date was working with Code 1 Aviation
to document an L-39's ("N187") return to the skies after 17 years. This entailed photographing the uncrating, reassembly,
certification, and my favorite part, "Air to Air" photography. The images from that project have made it into 3 different magazines.
As my journey continues, it will be exciting to see what new adventures are in store for me and what aviation explorations the future holds.
Tom and his wife live in Loves Park, IL.