Choose a Category

Currently showing posts tagged WWII

  • The Invasion of Normandy at 70, I at 24

    I have been very reflective lately – on history, on my life, and what I have accomplished in such a short amount of time as a photographer and a creative person. I have developed beyond just an aviation and space photographer into an editor, journalist, director, and filmmaker, sharing the common threads of history and inspiration.

    A still of actor Nick Holmes from The Last Patrol, the first film I directed while studying at Brooks Institute.

    Since my graduation from Brooks Institute in August 2013, I have become a journalist writing space articles for news outlet The Spaceflight Group and conducting interviews with fantastic individuals of aerospace companies. I photograph rocket launches and aircraft. Now I am embarking upon a “great and noble undertaking” of my own – directing a documentary that will be bringing a 92-year-old World War II veteran back to Normandy, France in August to honor the anniversary of the invasion. He has always wanted to return to Normandy where he was part of the invasion, but never had the opportunity to do so – until now.

    70 years is a lifetime ago and a whole other time I cannot fathom, yet the more I speak to and work with these World War II veterans, the closer I feel to this time in their lives. Working on this film, Normandy: A World Apart, during the past few months has been the most humbling and inspiring time in my life to date. It is amazing that by peering into our collective past, I am learning about what I can do for our collective future.

    What it comes down to is that our past is certainly part of our future, and it is not about how much time we have, but rather what we do with the time given to us. Harry Snyder, our veteran, has taught me that at the wonderful age of 92.

    You can never be too young or too old to accomplish great things and you should always be striving to do them, no matter what. Dreams and wishes are eternal; they are always waiting to come true, but you have to go after them.

    Harry Snyder, 92-year-old World War II veteran of the Invasion of Normandy and Battle of the Bulge.

    Thus, I am reminded of a quote by one of my most favorite authors, explorers, and photographers, Jack London:

    "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."

    I am honored to be aiding Harry in granting his wish to return to Normandy at 92 – and realize that at 24, helping him is granting one of my own wishes, too.

  • The Last Patrol: A Short WWII Film

    Recently I've been experimenting with short film, in hopes to also be able to offer video to my clients. Being both a writer and a photographer who constantly looks to history for inspiration, I decided to take on the task of a World War Two short film.

    Assistant director, Austin Rawcliffe, filming a scene in the film with actors Ehren Rauch and Nicholas Okpysh.

    My crew and I shot for two long days up in the mountains in a secluded spot that could pass for Eastern France. My actors were all actual WWII reenactors who fired blank rounds from their M-1 Garand rifles in order to create an effect as close to firing a real bullet as possible.

    Actors Ehren Rauch and Nicholas Okpysh reviewing footage of themselves firing their rifles in a battle scene.

    My biggest inspiration for this film was the 1927 silent film, Wings. I had always admired the beautiful lighting in that movie and the way that the characters' facial expressions moved the story along without words. I tried to include those elements in my own film, which tells the tale of a lone soldier on patrol.

    Lead actor Ehren Rauch (left) and myself (right) and I prepare a second camera angle for a patrol scene.

    I will be blogging the official production stills from this video soon, so stay tuned!

    Actors left to right: Ben Regester, Ehren Rauch, and Nick Holmes.