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Meet Military Photographer Tyler Rickenbach

Author: Libby - Printique by Adorama

Veterans Day is this weekend. We wanted to spend some time not only commemorating those who have served and are currently serving in our armed forces, but we wanted to feature a photographer who shares what life looks behind the lens in the military.  So grab a cup of coffee and have a seat as we spend some time with military photographer Tyler Rickenbach and his moving images.

Tells us a little about yourself.

Before graduating college, I lived in Ecuador for two years because I wanted to immerse myself into a culture that would change who I am as a person. Once I returned home, I pursued a Visual Communications degree and commissioned as a 2LT in the U.S. Army. Apart from serving in the Wisconsin National Guard, I am a freelance photographer/videographer for Free Soul Studios based out of Appleton, Wisconsin. I’ve been happily married for almost three years and we are expecting our first baby in February 2018.
 military photographer

You were one of the Your Best Shot 2015 finalists, tell us more about this striking military image.

This particular image was taken during a Field Training Exercise. We were picked up in UH-60 Blackhawks and taken to our training site about thirty miles away from campus. As soon as we touched down on the ground, we grabbed our bags and made a 15-meter dash in both directions off the bird, forming a circle. I knew that I would only have a few seconds to get into position, snap a couple frames of the other two birds flying overhead before we had to pack up and ruck into our training site. For this shot, I used a Canon 1D Mk IV and a Canon 15mm f/2.8 lens, which allowed me to shoot fast in the low, sun setting light.

B-BTRY of 148th FA 116th Calvary Brigade conducts field training in order to prepare for Annual Training in Boise, Idaho.

What do you enjoy most about photographing our armed services?

What do I enjoy most about photographing the military? Hmm.. There are a lot of reasons why I do it, but what drives me to do it is to tell the untold stories. It is hard to see what life is really like in the military when all that is shown on YouTube is the “cool” or exciting moments. When you are living in the moment and have developed a very personal relationship with those in your platoon and squad, your camera becomes a passport into their lives, allowing you to really see what life is like “down in the trenches.”

Favorite image and why- what do you hope it conveys?

This is a rather difficult question because, in one way or another, I have a personal connection with all of the images that I have taken, but one that sticks out to me the most is when I was riding on top of a Paladin and looked back to see the clouds of smoke coming from behind us as we traveled down the road. We were headed to the field to conduct some training, but in order to get to our training site, we had to drive our Paladins through town. It was one of those moments where I thought, “this is why I love being a photographer because, without a camera, all of what I experience in life would just be a distant memory that I revisit on occasion, but with a camera, I get to bring all of that to life as it really is.”

military photographer

B-BTRY of 148th FA 116th Calvary Brigade conducts field training in order to prepare for Annual Training in Boise, Idaho.

Future photography plans?

It’s funny you ask this question because I was just talking about with my sweetheart about it. Photography has a funny way of taking us directions that we didn’t expect. Someone that I have always admired in outdoor/adventure photography is Chris Burkard because of what he has done to inspire millions of people, around the world, to care about the planet. I want to leave a similar legacy behind. I want the world to know, but most importantly my sweetheart and kids, to know that I gave my best to tell a story in every assignment I shot, regardless of what it was. I hope that the images I take will touch peoples’ lives and create conversation around the dinner table, Did you see that image of… wasn’t that something?
Thank you, Tyler for sharing your talent with us and for serving in the armed forces. If you would like to see more of his work, you can check out his website HERE.