Sunday, September 13, 2015

MC Perspective: So you were turned down for the rating?

MC3 Seth Coulter
Nobody wants this.  You decide to enlist but get told by the classifier at MEPS that there's no spots available.  You can pick another job and try to cross rate later or you can enlist as undesignated (no job) and strike to MC later.  


Entering the fleet as an undesignated seaman/airman/fireman was surely not your first choice, but it's not the end of the world.  Let's talk to two MCs who have been through the process. 

For more information about what striking is check here.


I Am Your Eyes: What were the steps you took to strike MC? 

Coulter: Make sure you go in with a high ASVAB score, this is one of the most single important things you can do. If you don't score high initially then re-take down the road. I was lucky enough to strike in while the rate was relatively open so I selected it, from the eligible list and once selected began working on my required portfolio. 

Brooks: First you have to be sure you meet the basic requirements to become an MC. Which means that you meet the required ASVAB scores to become and MC, you are not color blind, and you can get or already have a SECRET clearance level.

"You need to do some OJT (on the job training) with 
an MC shop so you can learn the job."

In order to do that you need your chain of command and the MC shop chain of command to approve you doing OJT with them. You'll more than likely have to do this outside of your normal working hours. 

Once you've worked with the shop and published plenty of work (photos, new story, etc.) you will then have to submit a 1306, along with a portfolio of your work (published and non-published), and get a letter of recommendation from a senior enlisted MC. Then submit all that to the MC community manager.

MC2 Brian Brooks

I Am Your Eyes: Did you go to A school after you passed the test?

Coulter: I don't know how many people go back to school after striking in but I sure wasn't one! Everything that Ive learned has either been taught to me from my peers or learned on my own. 

Brooks: I did not have to go to A school when I made it but that may be a decision that is made once you've make it. The thing you have to realize is that if you do go to A school the command that is gaining you will have to basically count you as a loss for about six months until you return. 

So in my opinion, they may not want to send you to A school due to being a person down and the cost of the school as well.    

 I Am Your Eyes: What's your final advice for strikers?
Coulter: The best advice I can give is to buy a DSLR, get a 35/50mm lens and leave it on manual. Go out and constantly shoot as much as possible. 

"Read more books and magazines on photography
 than you ever thought possible!"

Don't neglect the shooters of the film age either. Magnum, Time, Life and Nat. Geo. are good places to turn to for reference. Don't forget to practice good graphic design either, it can be something that sets you apart in the community.

Brooks: My advice is do as much learning as you can on your off time and take the initiative to do some MC work on your own to show them what you're capable of doing and that this is something that you really want to do with your Navy career. I can truly say that this is not a "hard" job in comparison to like Deck Dept. (trust me I know...they are some of the hardest working Sailors) but it can be a challenging job because you are always putting your personal work on the line. 

"Keep an open mind and be able to take criticism and learn from it. 

I hope that helps. If you need any specifics you can always talk to your career counselor at your command. Good luck.


Gentlemen, thank you for taking the time to help us out with some great gouge! 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

This never happens

I'm doing a story on the Triple Nickels, or the 555th Parachute Infantry, the legendary African American paratroopers from WW2.

I show up and there's a documentary crew already working there. They were nice enough to hook me up with their setup for my interview. All I have to do is put my camera and tripod down!

The only downside is I feel like a total noob hanging out with these pros.

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

MC Perspective: An aircraft carrier can do this?!

MC3 Alex Delgado just got out to the fleet and he's already making waves.  This guy's got some talent.  Check out this time lapse he just shot while aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.  It was even picked up by CNN!

Watch the video below and read on for more details about the shoot.

You can watch the video on the ship's Facebook page here.


I AM YOUR EYES:  Where is this?

DELGADO:  This was shot in Portsmouth, Va when Ike broke suction from the pier at Norfolk Naval Shipyard and went out to the Atlantic. It was first time the ship went underway since 2013, so it was an important event to try and capture, so I went as high as I could to get a good vantage point. That ended up being the O-10 level.

"I should have brought more snacks and 
some extra memory cards."

I AM YOUR EYES:  What was it like?

DELGADO:  It was long!  I had to run down to our shop to procure some extra memory and food. The photos took up a little over 100GB at the end of the day! I had to batch edit all of the photos and save them to a new location. That process took about 10 hours.  Then I put it all into after effects, which automatically puts the sequence of photos in the framerate I needed. The rendering and exporting took about another 5 hours to complete.

All in all, it was great experience to be up there as the ship went underway for the first time in a long time.  Definitely want to thank D'Andre Roden, an MC on the Vinson, for giving me the inspiration. He did a sweet timelapse on the Vinson a while back and got my gears turning.

"The process was long, but extremely rewarding."

I AM YOUR EYES:  What kind of equipment did you use?

DELGADO:  Everything was shot on the Nikon D810 with a 14-24mm F/2.8 lens.  I also used an intervalometer that took 7,000 photos over the span of 6 hours. You can get a pretty good one at B and H for about $50.

I AM YOUR EYES:  Tell us about your camera settings.

DELGADO:  The challenge was trying to decide what interval to use between each shot. I started with 3 seconds, then decided 2 seconds would be better. To be honest, I came to that decision on a hunch.

As for the camera mode, I used aperture priority to help during the transition from dusk to daylight at the beginning of the video. That mode automatically meters for the light in the frame so you don't end up getting over exposed images.

The downside is that it causes flicker in the overall timelapse. Which means the camera shoots different exposed photos throughout your timelapse. To fix it, you need to use a deflicker software, which I didn't have on the ship!

As for the speed of the video, the frame rate is 60 frames/second, which worked well for the time limit.

Thank you for taking the time to share that with us Delgado!  We'll look forward to what you produce next.