Ramstein Air Base, Germany --
I am an Air Force photojournalist and videographer.
From June to October 2014, I attended the Basic
Photojournalist Course at the Defense Information School on Fort George G.
Meade, Md. for my technical school. It was a very stressful four and a half
months, but I made it through to my first duty station at Ramstein.
Ever since I raised my right hand, there has been talk about
combining the photojournalist and broadcast career fields that fall under
Public Affairs, and several months ago my superintendent came up to my desk and
told me I would be heading back to DINFOS to take another course; only this
time it would be a three and a half month course to learn videography.
At first I was apprehensive about returning to DINFOS. I
remembered how stressful the photography course was, could I really go through
it all over again? What if I was terrible? The Air Force would be investing
time and money to send me to this course, what if I failed?
I forced myself to push these doubts aside, and as I did I
started to feel excitement. While this course may be tough, I was looking
forward to the challenge.
Three other Airmen and I were chosen amongst our peers to be
the first ever to receive official training in both photojournalism and
videography. We were to be the guinea pigs that decided how some aspects of
this merge would go in the future.
In the last few days of January I found myself back at Fort
Meade walking the halls of DINFOS again. I was enrolled into Video Production
and Documentation Class 010-16. It was a much different class from the one I
went through for photojournalism.
There was not only the difference between photography and
video, but my photojournalism class was comprised entirely of Airmen, both
students and instructors. The VPD Course was originally only for Marines and
Army, and my fellow Airmen and I were added in to see if this is where the Air
Force wanted to send Airmen in the future.
It was a unique and rewarding experience to work in a joint
environment. While there was some good-natured ribbing between the three
branches, I was glad to have had the opportunity to work alongside the Soldiers
and Marines in my class.
In this course I learned basic composition and lighting
techniques, various rules to follow when shooting video and how to piece your
shots together into a well edited video using Adobe Premiere. When your job
requires you to produce something that is subjective, you have to have thick
skin when it comes to getting critiques. My instructors were tough, but fair,
and I learned a lot from them.
I consider myself very lucky to have been selected for
this training. When the inevitable merger comes to fruition I will already be a
step ahead of my peers and avoid having to try to learn a new skill through
I also enjoyed undertaking a new challenge and furthering my
education within my career field. There are many Airmen throughout the Air
Force that may also face the challenge of learning a new skill because of a
merge within their career field.
I was fortunate to receive official training, but several
Airmen in my office have taken the initiative to learn all they can about video
or photography before the merge begins. It is through initiative and motivation
such as this that the Air Force continues to grow and expand as a whole.
Now that I am back at Ramstein, I look forward to being able
to use my new skill for real world applications instead of only for the
classroom. I hope to do well as both a photojournalist and videographer and
prove it was worth the Air Force’s time and resources to send me to the course.