Born and raised in central Florida, this area is usually associated with Disney World and beaches because of the surrounding area. However, in Lakeland, Florida we have many lakes, ponds, golf courses and a large part of the airshow community; we are home to the "Spring break for Pilots", Sun N' Fun Fly-In right in our backyard at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. This airport becomes the gateway to veteran pilots and new pilots alike, along with people who love the smell of jet fuel and Pratt and Whitney engines warming up on a brisk early morning.
My father is a landscaper, he creates gorgeous structures for not only everyday houses and business, but he does a lot of work for many aircraft companies that some of you may have even flown ie: Aviat Aircraft, Piper, Dahër Socata, and many others. Every evening I would ride with him to the grounds to 'help' but in all honesty it was to just escape and look at the warbirds and jets and all the cool stuff a 6 year old could only dream of flying!
Fast forward 12 years, i finally got my hands on a DSLR - the Nikon D3200. There were so many features compared to the compact point and shoot that could sit comfortably in my pocket. At the age of 18 I started learning to shoot some landscape shots of the local terrain. However, one evening a United States Coast Guard C-130H flew over my head just at twilight. It was gorgeous, the glow from the fading sun highlighting the already bright orange stripe on the C-130. I ran for my camera shot and realized I had nowhere near enough glass for something of that altitude. Alas, I tried time and time again with my 18-55mm kit lens until I decided either I need a larger lens...or lower aircraft.
It was at that moment I shifted my mindset on photography to aviation, with the support of so many on social media it has allowed me to achieve better quality images through constructive criticism. I am thankful for all of the people I have met along my journey, traveling from location to location and airshow to airshow. I cannot wait for what the future holds for myself and my Full Disc brothers!