Hollie McKay Quote

One headline just starts to blur into another. I think whether its Afghanistan, Burma, or Iraq it affects everyone. We’re all affected by conflict. When communicating with an American audience you have to remind them not just the basic humanity, but how it affects their day to day life. I see my job, above being a journalist, above being a writer, I am a storyteller. If you can tell a great story; you’re going to capture people’s attention. I really seek to be a storyteller.

Hollie McKay


I advertise Travel, Adventure, and Documentary photographer on this site, but do I really qualify? I don’t have many paid gigs in these genres, although I do some work for the DoD as a byproduct of my daily interactions. I have always sort of had wanderlust, and get bored staying in one place too long. I got to thinking about this innate wanderlust, and the effect on my family. It makes PCSing in the military a bit nicer, and we always try to pick somewhere we’ve never been before, including places like Fort Drum.

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Getting Work Out there

So I have a hard time putting my work out there. Yes, I have a portfolio, blog, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, but I am talking about putting my work out through validated media outlets and contests. The kind of organizations that editors, photographers, and others use to find new talent and validate their work.

I have determined to try and put myself out there more. I recently found out about the Military Visual Awards. ” Military Visual Awards was established in 2018 in an effort to produce an extremely high level of productive and healthy competition amongst service members who take photographs. ” Its a free, open to the public competition for photographers and videographers. After talking to a couple other military photographers about the competition and its validity, I decided to throw my hat in the ring.

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Internationales Perchtentreffen

This young Union Soldier apparently needed his mother
to buy soda and candy

I recently found myself in Pullman City for the Internationales Perchtentreffen.  Pullman City, or Westernstadt, is an Old West theme park in Bavaria.  Its more reminiscent of a kitschy roadside attraction like Wall Drug or the Wigwam Motel than an actual theme park ala Disney. I have a thing for Roadside Americana kitsch, so I enjoyed the feel.

Imagine a theme park based on what a german who got an idea of what the old west was from spaghetti westerns, and you’ll have a good idea about this park.  Complete with signs such as “Marshall Sheriff,” “No Water for Indians!,” and “Wipe shit from boots before entering cowboys!” to teen aged girls as period actors dressed in Cavalry Officer garb with their shoulder boards on backwards, and you’ll see why this near miss is truly entertaining for an American. However, the park was mostly closed for the season, and since I couldn’t experience the park in its full glory, I’ll leave it at that.  We were there for the Internationales Perchtentreffen, a huge show revolving around the pagan rituals of the region dating back to pre-christian times after all.

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Sedlec Ossuary

The Church of All Saints
The Church of All Saints

There is a sleepy little town about an hour from Prague that holds one of the most bizarre examples of religious relics I have ever experienced.  The Church of All Saints is located about 300 meters from one of two tram stops in the town of Kutna Hora.  It’s an unassuming example of Gothic church architecture, and other than the plethora of tourists mulling about the location, one wouldn’t think it rated designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The church itself is leaning these days as the undermining from silver mining in the 1400s has started to collapse under the church.  However, no one comes to see the leaning church of Kutna Hora. The come to see the ossuary underneath.

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Girl and Escort, Afghanistan, 2011

A young “Bacha Posh” girl and her escort are flown to a U.S. Army Medical Facility near Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan, 2011.

I was looking through my older photographs when I came across this image. This is a girl, and her escort, being evacuated to a U.S. Army medical facility near Tarin Kowt in 2011. I don’t recall what her injury was, but I remember side shooting with my pocket camera while flying her in. Its not a particularly good image as I wasn’t trying to capture anything in particular, but something about this image has always stuck with me and was a sort of catalyst to my current endeavors.

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Last Flights

The problem with last flights is that they rarely end up being the actual last flight, and they generally end up just kind of being a humdrum training event. In this case, it was the last flight for myself and my Commander for the foreseeable future. We also had a couple people doing the last flights of their career tagging along so, for once, we were able to make a flight worth remembering.

The day itself turned out beautifully and was perfect for one last trip around the North Country of Upstate New York before departing on our various new paths. While we didn’t go see New York City, or the Adirondacks again, I did get the opportunity to finally fly over Niaraga Falls after waiting three years.

Here’s to the North Country and my upcoming European relocation!

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Five Alternatives to adobe lightroom

Adobe has pretty much wrapped up the market for image and video presentation with their Creative Suite. Lightroom, Photoshop, Premiere, and even the apps designed for graphics and illustration are considered the industry standard in most places.

However, they are not the only solutions out there. As a photographer, most of my time is spent editing images and videos, and I have found a few different solutions to the almighty Adobe Suite over the years. Here are the 5 best alternatives to Lightroom I have found. They might not all be free, but they offer similar or better functionality, and with a little time you can use them to get gorgeous images.

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