Me outside the Contingency Aerospace Staging Facility in Balad Air Base, Iraq, June/July 2005, during my first deployment. The blue folder in my right hand made six trips across the Atlantic in austere conditions during my Iraq mission, but managed to survive intact (although heavily frayed) despite my constant abuse. I think it's the longest I've managed to keep a piece of office material without losing it. Three deployments later, I've concluded that despite being a semi-professional photographer, it is impossible to ever get a quality shot of myself.
I've always been a pretty good writer, but photography was something of a black art for me until just a few years ago. It wasn't until just before my first deployment that I actually bought my first dSLR camera, which I promptly lost somewhere between Offutt and Iraq.
Things improved when I got my second camera, shortly after returning from Iraq. I took better care of that one, and it became a constant companion during my 15-month Afghan deployment. I shot well over 5,000 pictures with that beloved Nikon D50, which I lost (again) on the very last day of the deployment, between the change-of-command ceremony and the Black Hawk helicopter back to Salerno.
I've kept better track of my cameras since then, though I haven't had as many chances to take them out into the field. I remain confident, however, that someday I will again be in position to lose an expensive camera in a combat zone.
I still get to write a lot,
fortunately. Keeping a milblog during my first Afghan deployment helped
me keep in touch with friends and family, and was a convenient creative
outlet. It's over at MySpace, reachable here.