Moments explode like fireworks

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- By taking a picture, I freeze a moment in time blasting it with radiant color and balancing it with composure. Then I expose the photo for the world to see.

Just like the fireworks exploding in the sky on Independence Day, my lens burns an image into a piece of film - or in this case, records it onto a digital image sensor which processes it into a viewable piece of media. Digital film is so much cheaper anyways. - The smoke left behind from the firework forms different shapes as if it burned itself into the sky; frozen for a moment just like a photograph.

I see the light wrapping around someone's face or the color transmitted onto his or her skin from a nearby colored window. I see the contrast from light and dark areas to the photographic elements in the scene.

The hardest part for any photographer is capturing a moment. For some, this may seem easy - although the principals are - waiting for a person to open up and express their true feelings takes practice and time. That is my favorite part of the job.

Many different events took place over the Fourth of July weekend at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. I had the privilege to experience a few: photographing the JC AllStars performance and the unfurling of a giant U.S. Flag for the Rangers game in Arlington, Texas. If I could be in two places at once, I would have photographed the Freedom Fest too.

I take a lot of pride shooting events like these. The most rewarding experiences I have, and continue to have, come from building relationships and connections with the people I am covering. I get to learn about where they come from, what they do and how they do it, but the most important thing I learn, is why they do what they do.

Knowing what you do comes easy. We are able to understand a vast amount of information and can translate it into the actions we perform to accomplish tasks. However, knowing why you do it may prove to be more of a challenge. Often times, finding your 'why' comes when you find your purpose or self-worth. Once you finally understand your value to your team, you can assist others in finding theirs as well.

It took me a long time to find mine, but my purpose is simple; build positive inspirational relationships through teamwork, mentoring and random acts of kindness. I am fortunate that my job compliments my purpose; I am able to build these connections by telling their stories. It gives me the opportunity to connect with people, find their 'why' and showcase it for the world to see.

At the end of the day, the most rewarding thing to see is my photograph or newspaper clipping hanging on someone's wall after I just covered them. That means I did my job and I did it well.

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel once said "Everybody you meet in life has one good book ... everybody's life is one good story."

Just like the fireworks exploding in the sky - each one different in its own way - I capture a story, freezing it for everyone to see.