For Captain Zacharie Charbonneau it all started in his teens when his parents got him a point-and-shoot camera for Christmas.
“You get one and then you’re constantly upgrading your kit and next thing you’re knee deep in the stuff,” says Charbonneau about how his love for photography took off after that first camera.
Now a long way from his hometown in Cornwall, Ontario, Charbonneau’s photography has also come a long way.
As a member of 15 Wing with the Royal Canadian Air Force, Charbonneau has just won both first and second place in the Department of National Defense photography contest.
Charbonneau competed in the advanced level of the contest and two of his nine submitted photographs won first and second place in the Military Life category. The category is defined by photographs that depict military personnel in uniform and on the job, or, military equipment and vehicles in action.
Charbonneau’s first place photo, titled Reflecting On A Good Day, won first place in the category and is literally an image of the reflection of fellow pilots in the visor of a flight helmet. “They were getting their wings that day and asked me to do some photos. So we did the hero shot standing in front of the plane, and someone had placed their helmet down and I saw the reflection.” Charbonneau says the trick with this photo was not catching himself in the reflection when taking the picture.
But there was more trickery involved in his second place image titled A Different Perspective. A self-portrait taken hundreds of feet in the air from the cockpit of his plane, the photo offers a different perspective indeed. Using a fisheye lens on his Canon SLR, Charbonneau performed a maneuver known as a 120:3 to generate the three g-forces necessary to keep his camera in place while taking the photo. “I just put it on a two second delay and tried to focus on myself. Which is easier said than done,” says Charbonneau with a laugh.
For more on this story check out the next issue of the Times-Herald