Since joining the NPS I have had the privilege to photograph many once in a life time projects. Early on, right out of film school, I found myself living off the coast of the Florida Keys in the Dry Tortugas NP where the casemate of the civil war Fort Jefferson was my bedroom, crossing a drawbridge over a moat was my morning commute, and diving on shipwrecks 7 days a week was my job. Years later I was the project photographer for the Friends of the Hunley and the National Geographic on the HL Hunley recovery expedition. For six month we worked off-shore diving in surface supplied hard hats along side commercial divers on a project of massive scale. After months of intense work and weeks of 24hr operations we finally recovered the 1st successful submarine in maritime history which sank off the coast of Charleston, SC in 1864 – crew still aboard. In 2000 I was shooting documentaries for History, National Geographic and Discovery for the 65th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack on the USS Arizona. Around this time I was also working with one of the great underwater cinematographers, Pete Romano, owner of HydroFlex and the best UW director of photography anywhere, on the feature film Pearl Harbor. In addition to diving with the director, Michael Bay, and participating in the insanity that is a Hollywood blockbuster I was able to help the film crew capture the essence of the USS Arizona as it rest today. (sadly, the real USS Arizona was ultimately not “real” enough for the director and he had Industrial Light & Magic build him an entire Arizona model which appeared in the film). Just a couple years ago I was shooting for a PBS NOVA program, a lifetime series favorite and professional dream. These projects, combined with the experience and dives on so many other projects around the NPS and internationally have generated a lifetime of experiences.
|2011 HMS Investigator Underwater Team|
So as I bid the Arctic farewell, I will always remember the tundra, the perpetual sunlight and never-ending magic hour, a virgin shipwreck and its it’s shallow frigid final resting place. Perhaps more than anything I will recall the friendships that were formed in the tents, adding boiling water to an unknown substance in a bag, stirring and calling it dinner. The laughs when its 2am and just for fun you decide to blow up your drysuits and sumo wrestle on the beach just because you can. I will remember the team of Parks Canada archeologist who trusted me to document one of the most significant projects in many of the their careers. All this and they even let me hold the Canadian flag every now and then. Thanks guys, it truly was the project of a lifetime.
|2011 HMS Investigator Team|