cjchivers a few minutes ago i was skimming


A few minutes ago I was skimming through a large folder of recently archived photographs, looking for images of captured Somali pirates for a NYT story in-works, when I found this one. It’s of Commander Layne McDowell, banking inside the cockpit of an F/A-18F over Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, made while reporting on a decade of changes in American air-to-ground war. I carry a camera to help my work. I am not a photographer. Make no mistake about that. But I’ve found that a camera is an essential tool for fact-gathering. It is also a form of digital notebook, as it is much more efficient to take photographs of passing scenes and people than to try to describe them solely by relying on longhand in a traditional paper notebook. (I use the old-school notebook, too, of course; together these tools complement one another, safeguard accuracy, and allow me to double-check memories and impressions quickly and with confidence.) Work habits can lead to all manner of surprises. Often I don’t have time to look carefully at all that ends up on the HD cards or that gets saved to a remote hard drive (remember: photography is not my primary job; it’s a tool supporting my primary job). Then, sometime later, like today, I click on the tiny icons and images I did not know I had made pop up on my screen. This was today’s surprise. We’ll make it THE GUN’s photo of the day. Now back to looking for those frames of the pirates…. and to more posts, and an edit of the story on-desk. ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPH By the author. Earlier this month, inside Vengeance 13, a U.S. Navy strike fighter on patrol over southern Afghanistan.