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Black Jets

My lasting memory of my professional work with the 49 th Fighter Wing, the last operational home of the F-117s at Holloman AFB. NM, was that I was here, in amongst the last squadrons of Stealth Fighters… and these aircraft… these very aircraft that were taxiing out in front of me or forming up on my wing over New Mexico… they were not new-build versions, or a development of the original jets… they were the REAL DEAL. These exact airframes were the ones flown in absolute secrecy out of Tonopah, they were the airframes called into such prolific combat action over the Balkans and Iraq. These jets.

www.coapmedia/books). My stand-out recollections will be shooting on the Holloman EOR with 30 jets coming towards me, getting an entire ‘Red Flag’ launch re-ordered and time-slipped so they could have the images, and having to change a T-38 canopy before the final air-to-air sorties. Interestingly, a lot of the milestone ‘last’ images were all in the 2007-2008 timeframe, and all on digital. Just imagine how much technology has advanced from the kit I used to shoot these precious pixels over 12 years ago. As a staunch Minolta shooter back in the film days, I transitioned to digital when Minolta did with their merger with Konica and used the Konica-Minolta 7D for these… at just 6mp. Yeah. But even now looking at them on my 15in MacBook Pro with its retina screen they stand up. I was using the truly excellent Minolta 28-135 f4 lens – incredible glass – and the sharpness and depth holds really well. It also shows that, unless I had said that these were taken on a 12-year-old, first generation, 6mp body by a defunct manufacturer, you’d never know. Black magic indeed.

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