GulfstreamGuy’s photos feature scenes that stir the #avgeek’s imagination.
Everyday, thousands of people post amazing airplane photos on Instagram. But few people are able to take a photo of a flying machine and turn it into a work of art that stirs the imagination. Jason Hamm, aka GulfstreamGuy, has that unique talent for mixing photography and creativity to produce thoughtful scenes combining action figures and airplanes. His popular Instagram account features over 12,000 fans! We recently sat down with Jason to learn more about his aviation passion.
1.) Tell us a little about yourself. When did you first realize you were an avgeek?
I was born in Germany as an air force brat and so I have always grown up around aviation. I can remember waking up to the sounds of local B-52s in Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota doing their morning engine run-ups and I used to LOVE hearing the raw power they filled the morning air with! It was actually so loud I can remember having to yell at my friends while trying to talk to them as they stood next to me! I always think back to a time while I was in North Dakota and my dad took me down to the flight line fence to see one of the most amazing airplanes I had ever seen in my life. The long sleek black fuselage was unlike I had ever seen before. My dad just kept referring to it as the “Blackbird”! I saw this SR-71 and I KNEW I needed to learn more about aircraft!
2.) Besides taking great photos, what do you do for your day job?
Well, thank you for the compliment! I’m very proud to say I am a ramp agent for Southwest Airlines here in Little Rock at the Clinton National Airport. I’ve been working at the airport since 1993 in some form or fashion. I was a refueler, I worked at a private flight department, an FBO, and I worked for Northwest for almost 10 years before eventually landing my current career at the LUV airline!
3.) Your Instagram account has some of the most unique aviation photos.
Thanks! When I started getting involved with aviation photography I tried doing the “spotting” type of photos. This, of course, being aircraft landing, taking off, and taxiing. I’ve never been able to capture these type of shots with any type of proficiency and there are so many aviation photographers who excel in these type of shots so I set my sites on capturing images that the general public may normally do not get to see. These include ramp shots and up close shots, heck, maybe even shots from WITHIN the wheel well of a 737!! I also have learned the use of HDR (High Dynamic Range) in my photos of Instagram (Thanks, Snapseed!!) to give many of my photos a certain “painting-like” look to them. HDR, I’ve found, has to be done carefully to avoid giving the photos a over saturated fake look. I am my own worst critic so if the photo pleases me, I will post it. I literally have thousands of photos I will not show anyone because they weren’t up to my standards.
4.) On Instagram, you frequently combine figurines and airplane models while shooting pictures of real jets. Where did you get this idea?
About a year and a half ago I was looking through Instagram accounts and I did a search for Star Wars. I came across this account buy the name of Matt, aka “Captain Kaos” (stuckinplastic.com). His gallery has not only some of the best action figure photography I’ve ever seen but also he incorporates an amazing original story or paragraph to each one. I thought it would be a fun idea to put my love of Lego figures (and eventually Star Wars Black Series figures) together with the aircraft I’m surrounded with for a few shots now and again. The response has been great! I’m always thinking ahead and I look at EVERYTHING around me for ideas.
5.) What’s your favorite #avgeek memory?
I have a few but one of my favorite avgeek memories happened on December 9, 1999. That’s the day I proposed to my wife, April. She had never been on a plane before and I wanted to make her first time special. Thanks to the LIT Southwest Ops personnel, all of the flight crew knew about it in advance and all I had to do was get up in front of everyone during the flight and ask April to come up to the front of the plane as I got on one knee and asked for her hand in marriage. I’m thankful she she said yes! The aircraft I proposed to her on was a Southwest 737-200 (N64SW) that was eventually retired and sent to the desert. However, this 732 eventually was turned into a corporate jet for Sonic restaurants and then sold and re-registered as N500VP. The funny part of that story is on the day we got married, right after the ceremony, we were both starving from not eating all day so we stopped by a Sonic restaurant to get something to eat! I guess some things were just meant to be!
Thanks Jason! If you are an #avgeek with an interesting story to share, send an e-mail to email@example.com.