• John Slemp
  • John Slemp
  • John Slemp
  • John Slemp
  • John Slemp
  • John Slemp

Aviation is a subject just begging for stories to be told, and the people involved in creating new aircraft, in flying them, and maintaining them are some of the best people you’ll ever come across.

Fun stuff I’ve worked on recently include creating images for the Goodyear Aviation Tire calendar. The aircraft featured this year is a Lockheed 12A Electra Junior, which was restored over an 18 year period by the owner and his brother in law, a Delta mechanic.  The plane was also used in the movie Amelia, and Hillary Swank signed the interior door panel as a memento. I do a fair amount of work for Women in Aviation International, and love making portraits at their national convention each year.  This is a highly accomplished group, with a cross-section of aviation unmatched in many organizations.  I’ve photographed aerobatic champions, Air Force generals, business leaders, corporate, military, and airline pilots, WWII WASP’s, Coast Guard swimmers, and line mechanics.  All have interesting stories to share. I’ve had the good fortune to photograph a Tuskegee Airman, and a P-51 pilot who flew 16 hours on D-Day.  Both are true gentlemen, and worthy of emulation.

This spring, I had the opportunity to create images during my first real “air-to-air” shoot.  While in the back of a Cessna 210, I photographed through the open baggage door a beautifully restored Lockheed 12A Electra Junior (not the one in the calendar).  The shoot took place over the skies of Lakeland, Florida, about mid-morning.

Recently I began working for the Lindbergh Foundation, and had the opportunity to photograph their 35th anniversary gathering at the Explorer’s Club in New York City.  Among the other notable guests were Apollo astronauts Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and Gene Cernan.  As you know, Neil was the first man on the moon, and died about 90 days after I made his photo at the event.  Another client is General Aviation News, and shooting at the annual Sun ‘n Fun gathering each March in Lakeland, Florida is a real treat.  Making images of the amphibious aircraft is always a pleasure, as it’s something one doesn’t normally see.  — John Slemp (Atlanta, GA)

Buying Local

I must admit that I have done business with B&H in New York for years, but I can’t say we have a “relationship”.  One of the things I’ve discovered in working with Capture Integration is that it’s not about the money…which is a rare thing these days.  While I enjoy a good deal as much as the next guy, I enjoy, and more importantly rely on particular folks to stay abreast of what’s going on, digitally speaking.  It’s very nice to have a local resource that I can trust to get the latest info on particular digital capture methods, the latest info regarding Profoto equipment, and prices are very competitive too.  It’s also a great advantage to be able to see and handle new gear, before buying it.

Plus, I don’t know where else you can take a $15,000 digital back out for a weekend “tryout”, just to see how it stacks up against your current tools and workflow.  I have found the staff at CI to be curteous, responsive, and genuinely interested in what I need as a customer.

A short story illustrates the point: 

I was recently in another local Atlanta photo store, buying ink for my printer.  I just casually asked about the Profoto D1 Air prices, and even after telling them I was only interested in the heads themselves, and not a kit, their response was “well, you can still buy the kit, and sell off what you don’t need!”  Yep, just what I want…yet another task to get rid of unnecessary equipment, which I would take a loss on, because it’s “used.”  Sometimes sales people just don’t understand what is involved in running a small business…and I think that is perhaps one of the greatest strengths that Capture Integration has.

Capture Integration understands that commercial photography is a very competitive business, and because of that understanding, they go out of their way to help you with what you need, without the “sales pitch.” Plus they are genuinely nice folks too.  Always a good thing…  — John Slemp – www.aerographs.com


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