My name is Tristan, and I am a photographer. The photo above is one of my absolute favorites. This is the first picture I had ever taken that I was excited about. The moment I heard the train horn warning it was approaching an intersection I rushed a composition with one goal: get the train blurry...but not too blurry. When I reviewed it after downloading from my camera, I couldn't believe it. I had taken a banger of a picture! I thought I could do no wrong. Look out National Geographic, I'm here! As I took more photos and became more honest with myself about my work, my interpretation of the picture above changed. There are little flaws here and there. Dust spots on the left hand side and the lettering of the sign isn't sharp to name a couple. When I composed the photo, most of what was captured was in there by accident. I still love this picture, and it is a metric I use in judging my current work. This photograph was my inspirtation to pursue photography for fun, and ultimately form Hangar 53 Studios.
I've been around photography for most of my life. My mom would bring a camera with her when we would go on family outings when I was a kid. She was always taking pictures with her film camera. Part of the fun of the trips to the park or zoo was days later when we would get the developed images back. Occationally she would let me or one of my siblings take the camera and take photos on a walk. When those moments came where it was my turn to handle the camera I would try and take the coolest pictures I could. Even as a kid I understood there was a difference between a snapshot and a Photograph.
After graduating highschool I joined the Marine Corps and ended up stationed in San Diego. Taking photos was quickly removed from my list of priorities. I only ever had my phone with me, never a "real camera," and I didn't take full advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves. As a crewmember on H-53 helicopters, I saw the world from a whole different perspective on a regular basis. Sunsets seen at 1,500 feet above sea level hit different. The Pacific islands in the tropics are vibrantly green and isolated in an endless ocean of blue. I didn't take many photos, and it's one of the biggest regrets to this day.
Life keeps moving on and so do I. My time in the Marine Corps ends and I find a job as an aircraft mechanic. I get married, buy a townhouse, and have a daughter on the way! Around this time is when I start getting into photography seriously. I began reading and researching how to take full control over the settings on the camera body. The technical part of photography grabbed my full attention. Learning the impact of changing how long the shutter was open, how high the ISO was, or how wide the aperture was captured my full attention. I would go out on walks with my only goal to be to take as many photos as I could while only changing one setting. I was learning my equipment and attempting to take Photographs.
So I've been taking photos steadily for a few months. One of my co-workers was establishing a clothing brand and asked if I would take photos for him. What an opportunity! I had been thinking about maybe starting to do this whole photography thing on the side, but had no idea on the way forward. This was the perfect way to dip my toes in to see if it would even be something I was interested in doing.
I. Was. Hooked.
I loved it. Working with someone to pull the ideas out of their head and make them a reality is incredibly rewarding. When I see a client's eyes light up with excitement over what I've done, it's worth it. People sending me messages on Instagram expressing how much they like what I've done motivates me to keep taking awesome photos of awesome people. That's why I formed Hangar 53 Studios. I want to be able to capture chaos, excitement, noise, motion, and drama in a format that is quiet.
Do you hear the engine? Do you feel the cold water splashing up? The handlebars jerking from the impact with the puddle? How chaotic is the scene, and how peaceful is it where you are reading this? That's why I take photos: to capture a moment in time to be relived and shared. Hangar 53 Studios does just that, provide awesome people doing awesome things with awesome photos.