One day last week, I just needed to get away from the office after being on a long call with a client and working through lunch. So, I headed out looking for somewhere to take my 365 shot for the day. I ended up at a forest preserve that is set up as a model airplane field. There was someone there flying a plane, but I went about taking my picture. When I was done, I changed lenses on my camera and started walking over to get some shots of the plane in the air. But as I approached, he started landing the plane.
I was disappointed that I missed getting the shots, but I continued walking over. I struck up a conversation and took a few pictures. We had been talking a little while, when I explained my 100 Strangers project and asked if he would be a part of it. He agreed and he let me take some portrait shots. We talked a great deal more and I stayed much longer than I should have. I wished that I didn’t have to go back to work because I would have loved to have stayed and talked to this very interesting and kind man.
His name is Ron and he’s been involved in model airplane flying since 1965. He is semi-retired and likes to come out here to the field to fly his remote-control planes during the week when it’s not crowded. I also found out that Ron has been involved in Olympic Archery for 20 years, both as a competitor and as a coach. He was the 2001 Masters Division National Champion and he was also named National Archery Association (NAA) coach of the year during his career, among other honors. He prepares young athletes to compete in Olympic trials as well as the Olympics. He said that he now knows the kids of kids that he has coached over the years. Ron said that he was an Olympic junkie long before he got involved coaching. And he said that as soon as the first arrow is shot at the Olympics he starts receiving text messages from friends and family.
After we talked a while longer, Ron said that he was going to fly his plane again. So he filled it with fuel and carefully readied it for take-off. He took it down the runway and it was flying in no time. I watched as he flew it around and did some tricks, taking a lot of pictures.
It was such a huge pleasure to meet you and to get to talk with you, Ron! It was very interesting and I wished I had more time! Thank you for being number 23 in my 100 Strangers Project.
Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at www.100Strangers.com