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Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel
  
 
JWilsonphoto
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p.3685 #1 · p.3685 #1 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


I know Larry pretty well, he is dedicated to ISAP, but the reason he is leads back to his heart for people who are young in our profession, hungry for knowledge and opportunity. He is the last person who would edge someone out just because he could.

Truthfully, I don't always share his enthusiasm for cultivating people who would love to step right in and go head to head with me for an assignment. His vision is one of training, instilling professionalism, and bringing people up through the photographic ranks. You know me, I have a kind heart, but I'm a realist. You train someone, tell them what/who/how, and you have just created another person who has the capability of diluting your client base. Altruism aside, that's a dumb move, especially when even the creme de la creme in the aviation photography market are earning a fraction of a living. Because of the relationships we've built here, none of the above applies within the the MA2A walls, outside of those boundaries, intelligent competitive practices ensue.

I know that these days we are supposed to be "fair and equal", I listened to the state of the union address, and the nausea still lingers. Would I ever intentionally fill a spot that has already been spoken for because I could? I think everyone knows the answer to that. Would I knowingly accept an opportunity, or assignment, that was being offered because my relationships gave me the inside track? Most certainly, every time! There's this movement afoot that wants to give a trophy to everyone for showing up, dumb down excellence and achievement because it diminishes someone else. I strongly believe in professional courtesy and ethics, but am equally zealous about individual motivation and aspiration. The current movement seeks to destroy the latter. As I said earlier in this conversation, every job any of us earn, is a job someone else wanted, and for a myriad of reason, we got it, they didn't. Does one use nefarious means to achieve our goal? Hopefully not! Should we use very talent, relationship, hard won trick of the trade to snatch it from any and all that seek the same opportunity? Absolutely! The other effect this should have, that is completely lost on the equality/fairness crowd, is the fact that the outcome should kindle the desire to build a better mouse trap within the person who came in second so as to minimize the chances of that happening in the future.

So, to alleviate any confusion, ISAP didn't knowingly swoop in and take spots from anyone. We were offered an opportunity and we happily accepted for our members. Anything different would be like being offered an assignment and asking the client if there was anyone else who wanted it, before we accepted it.



Feb 07, 2014 at 07:03 PM
Wrei
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p.3685 #2 · p.3685 #2 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


About dedicated slots:

This issue brought back memories from the time I was discharged from active duty and began looking for a job. My grandfather had a connection with Delta Airlines, a guy who reported to the operations manager at IAH. My GF took me out to meet the OM, he talked to me for about 10 minutes then shook my hand and said he would call me in two weeks. He told me about their nepotism policy and I assured him I had no family members working for Delta. Two weeks later, my older brother told my GF he was tired of his job and wanted something new, so, guess where he took him. The OM wasn't there, so the secretary took his application and left it on her desk. The OM came back into the office that same day and told her to call up that 'Swindle' guy and hire him. She picked up my brother's application and hired him. He retired last year after 40+ years from Delta. I wished him well, talked him into investing in an A&P license. He went from a baggage handler to the highest seniority mechanic at their Atlanta hub. I am glad he had the opportunity and took advantage of it. The Man Above had other plans for me, and I am happy about that.

I guess it wasn't my slot after all

I guess my point is when someone else is the grantor, we don't own a slot, and you can't lose a slot until you are in it.



Feb 07, 2014 at 07:27 PM
stevezzzz
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p.3685 #3 · p.3685 #3 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


You're a better man than I, Wrei: that must have stung.


Feb 07, 2014 at 07:41 PM
Wrei
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p.3685 #4 · p.3685 #4 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


Actually, being 21, and six months from getting married, it was a good life lesson. I was just thinking and realized I have only sought out and lobbied for one of my many jobs. That was when I went into the USAF. The recruiter told me at 18 I was too young. I wouldn't leave his office until we worked something out and did. Since then, every job I have had, I was asked to submit an application or resume because someone at the company told them I was the guy for the job. I never asked for a raise or a promotion and never complained about my pay. I guess my thought was, if someone thought I was worth more, I should consider it. But I never took a job without their being a purpose or goal associated with taking it. Gee, I just made myself feel good. Think I'll have another Dr. Pepper.

Edit for TOPP:








Feb 07, 2014 at 07:57 PM
JWilsonphoto
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p.3685 #5 · p.3685 #5 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


I know you Zim, it would have stung, but you would have taken it in stride just like Wrei, and gone on to do something greater. That's another good point, go your best, use every talent you have, if you don't get what you're seeking, keep seeking. Like my friend Garth sings, "Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers......" The big lesson is, believe in yourself, don't blame someone else every time something doesn't fall your way, then hone every positive that you have so that the next time the deck is stacked in your favor.

Good example, I slam dunked that awards ceremony for a new client last year. They were all over me gushing with appreciation as they carried dozens of crystal plaques out that night. I literally worked night and day to make sure they had everything they needed, every absurd request was met with a smile and performance. Never in the history of that high profile award dinner had any single company garnered more honors. Their West Coast group sent that residential guy in to shoot a model, you know, I posted examples of his work a while back, turns out that they like the "Thomas Kincaid style and I was instantly out on my ear. Did that sting? Yup, from a professional and a financial standpoint, that was at least 100k walking out the door, every year. I don't blame the photographer, in this instance I don't even blame myself because I could shoot that style, it just doesn't appeal to me. I guess I could blame the client, but it's their dollars and their taste. That very evening I was blessed with a client who rigors at that style of photography, and who has more than doubled the work that vanished. Thirty two years of those kinds of experiences tends to lead you to do your very best, and Trust the rest to the Guy with the plan. Hand wringing and blaming eats up the energy it takes to win the next round.



Feb 07, 2014 at 09:27 PM
yipDog
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p.3685 #6 · p.3685 #6 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


I've been in the biz of production (audio/music/video and now photography) for close to 25 years now. These experiences happen to everyone in a service-type industry at one point or another. That we look at ourselves as artists makes taking news like this difficult. Much easier for a salesman to say "lost that contract to a lower bid" than for us to hear "they liked the other person's work better." It is personal for us. As Jim said though... something always seems to come up to replace what went away. Once that is in the back of your mind it's a little easier to deal with.

My two horror stories along those lines show this perfectly. I was employee number 3 and senior video editor for a large company that was ramping up to going public. The economy turned and being one of the higher paid employees was let go. BUT…I ended up starting my company immediately and have been producing their advertising materials ever since! And word of mouth from the CEO landed a half dozen other clients who were his friends.
Second story is actually one of those companies…I was their main DP/editor and built my studio specifically to accommodate their needs. Their clients (and therefore mine) were Intel, PetSmart, US Navy, Mobil Mini and so on. One day they asked me to design a studio in their new building. I laughed and said "So after it's built I guess I'll never hear from you again?" They tried to reassure me they'd still send stuff my way. That was three years ago and a week ago got a call from them….to design another studio for their San Francisco location!
It's all good and bottom line is keep the clients happy no matter what. And never rely on one big client for your main source of income. Have enough that any departures don't destroy your business.



Feb 07, 2014 at 09:52 PM
JWilsonphoto
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p.3685 #7 · p.3685 #7 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


Exxxxaaaactly!


Feb 07, 2014 at 10:05 PM
bobl
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p.3685 #8 · p.3685 #8 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


I've been following this conversation for a couple days and Jim, you made this statement, You train someone, tell them what/who/how, and you have just created another person who has the capability of diluting your client base.. I agree with this to a point. One thing we creative-types must remember, we can train someone as to what/where/when/why and how, BUT we cannot give them our mind/eyes. That's what makes an individual's work their own. NOBODY can duplicate what I do... the closest they can come is an imitation.

Just a few of my thoughts...



Feb 07, 2014 at 10:23 PM
yipDog
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p.3685 #9 · p.3685 #9 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


I had the pleasure of taking a jazz improv master class with saxophone legend Nick Brignola while I was in college. The one lesson that still resonates with me was a comment he made to the whole class. "All of you are good players…some really good. But you have no clue what the real world of music is like. See…once you graduate…guess who will be there competing with you for every good gig that comes up…ME! And I don't like to lose!"
I was not scared off by this as I was actually a trumpet player but the sax guys all had to change their shorts after realizing the truth. I ran into the same issue though auditioning for a few orchestras and ensembles. The best players I knew AND my instructors were all there!
At that point…it's not about the craft…it's about personality, reputation and politics…selling yourself. Same goes for photography.



Feb 07, 2014 at 10:35 PM
JWilsonphoto
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p.3685 #10 · p.3685 #10 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


True statements all. Bobl, there's one additional thing in the mix that must be considered. Given less than stellar economic times, many potential clients will opt for the "imitation" at 1/3 of the cost of the "original". If, out of the goodness of your heart you help train the imitation, well, shooting yourself in the foot comes to mind.

We've long said, and proven multiple times, that we can all be standing in the same spot, with the same gear, and we'll see and capture different things. We're different, and have varying degrees of experience in areas like lighting, and equipment use. Certainly no one can shoot exactly like anyone else. Those lines get blurred a little when a potential client is looking for someone to photograph the widgets that his or her company stamps out. The day I decide to exit the competitive arena, I'll be happy to give a one day seminar on how it all worked for me lo these many years. Until that time, other than right here with you all, I'll keep that stuff close to the vest.







Feb 07, 2014 at 10:58 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



FlyingPhotog
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p.3685 #11 · p.3685 #11 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


Can we pre-register for that seminar Shooter?


Feb 08, 2014 at 12:05 AM
Jeff W.
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p.3685 #12 · p.3685 #12 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


Jeff W. wrote:
I hope I'm wrong about this and my concern is misplaced.


Per the above post, it would be remiss of me to not post an update. After further research into the matter, I was wrong about ISAP's foray into El Centro costing the other/smaller groups "slots". Accordingly, my concern about this particular circumstance was (in fact) misplaced.

The PAO's office informs that the Blues don't like multiple vehicles going back and forth on the airfield when they're active. NAFEC does not have an unlimited "car pool" so a large group requires them to make multiple trips (i.e. back and forth) to transport shooters from the parking lot to the LSO shack next to the runway. Accordingly, the reduction in vehicles allowed to operate with this particular photocall is the limiting factor, not ISAP's getting 5 slots.

As you would imagine, the Blues are the elephant in the room when they are training at NAFEC. Even though there are numerous other military groups also training at El Centro at the same time, the Blues rule the roost. ISAP's 5 slots are not sufficient to require more vehicles than normal and could have been easily managed without any slot reductions at a photocall where the Blues are not present.



Feb 08, 2014 at 01:38 AM
astrobrian
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p.3685 #13 · p.3685 #13 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


JWilsonphoto wrote:
You know me, I have a kind heart, but I'm a realist. You train someone, tell them what/who/how, and you have just created another person who has the capability of diluting your client base.


I guess with this I am an oddity in this day and age as I wouldn't ask someone willing to teach me for information, or insider tricks etc with any intention of taking over a client base or region one may be in. There must be too many that would do that though and as such requires a protective attitude. There are a lot of subject types I would love a chance at to be paid to shoot(not just aviation), if only getting paid enough to not require a "day job". Even just to be involved some kind of way photographically for another established shooter as an assistant or go-fer would be a huge step up from things. With that said I know what I lack, and with seeing statements like that which I quoted being the way of thinking, I know why it is hard for me to get some of the tricks of the trade out of those in the know. Totally understandable when looking at it from the other side of the fence. I guess if/when I get to a point of being semi successful I will be the same way.



Feb 08, 2014 at 02:53 AM
JWilsonphoto
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p.3685 #14 · p.3685 #14 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


Dear Brian,

I'd be happy to help you in any way that I could. As I've mentioned many times before, my shooting style and schedule just doesn't lend itself to having assistants. A good example of why is my upcoming Florida assignment, weather has postponed it four times, walk on airfare is two grand, hotel will be another thousand. If I had an assistant that could be flexible enough to go when the shoot actually happens, it would add $3,000 to travel expenses, plus a week of the assistant's fee. Pretty soon, no matter how much the client likes your work, someone is going to start counting beans and suggest finding a local photographer. One has to stay quick and lean in today's market.




Feb 08, 2014 at 05:13 AM
JWilsonphoto
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p.3685 #15 · p.3685 #15 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


You're in Jay! But I think you pretty much already have it down.


Feb 08, 2014 at 05:17 AM
kwbarnes
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p.3685 #16 · p.3685 #16 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


The following link was posted in a thread on a R/C modeling site I frequent. I ran it by Shooter, and he said to post it.

So, for the viewing pleasure of the U.S. contingent of MA2A, I post the following link.



For the non U.S. contingent, the video is not aviation related, but you are welcome to view it also.

Ken




Feb 08, 2014 at 06:01 AM
FlyingPhotog
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p.3685 #17 · p.3685 #17 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


64th Aggressor Squadron Viper from the current Red Flag cycle at Nellis...
(two of my 3.5 days up there were nearly solid overcast)




Feb 08, 2014 at 06:31 AM
FlyingPhotog
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p.3685 #18 · p.3685 #18 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


Rushing Raptor...




Feb 08, 2014 at 06:46 AM
FlyingPhotog
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p.3685 #19 · p.3685 #19 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


Every memory card below me gets trashed in 3, 2, 1...




Feb 08, 2014 at 07:01 AM
FlyingPhotog
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p.3685 #20 · p.3685 #20 · Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel


Thunderbird 5, Maj. Blaine Jones, departing Nellis for a morning practice hop...




Feb 08, 2014 at 07:46 AM
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