Accessioning in the 21st century



by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert
136th Airlift Wing


6/23/2011 - NAS FORT WORTH JRB, Texas -- A photographer rushes to the scene of jeering family members as they embrace their loved ones returning from a deployment; full of emotion and exuberance, capturing the essence of the moment and communicating it to the public instantaneously.

Here at the 136th Airlift Wing, Texas Air National Guard, Tech. Sgt. Charles Hatton a Public Affairs photographer uses the latest technology of the 21st century to upload his images to Air Force Public Affairs website moments after shooting a photo.

"I shoot a series of images... I stop for a moment... I pull out my iPad and the photos are there waiting for me to edit, caption and send it to where it needs to go," said Sergeant Hatton, "after a few more minutes, I check the Web with my device and it's received. How awesome is that?"

A photographer's edge in this day and age is the expediency of how fast he can accession an image moments after shooting it to anywhere in the world. Imagine capturing an image and within a couple of minutes it reaches the intended audience, edited and captioned; the first image of an incident posted on the Web, credited and telling the story moments after happening.
The professional photographer must compete amongst the amateur camera phone photographers who post their images instantaneously on Facebook or any social media sites. The professional must tell their story with brevity, accurately and expediently.

Click, click, click...his camera shoots over 20 photos. He pauses for a few minutes to pull out his iPad, a small portable-computer device that allows him to view, edit, caption and accession his image to the Web. He chooses the one image that tells the story and sends it into cyberspace, without disrupting the operation of his camera. He uses the Wi-Fi technology available on his Base with the "Eye-Fi", a removable Wi-Fi gadget on his digital camera synched with his iPad.

The "Eye-Fi" can also synchronize with the iPhone, iPod 4th generation or smart phone technologies using Android operating system.

"We have tested the Eye-Fi with our iPhones and iPods and it seems to work seamlessly," said Tech Sgt. Craig Lifton, 136 AW, Public Affairs, broadcast journalist and photographer, "the cool feature about using the iPhone is that I can send the photo via text message using my phone carrier instead of Wi-Fi."

The technology that Sergeants Hatton and Lifton are using is in a testing phase to see how feasible and effective the Wi-Fi devices are without compromising security. Operating instructions (OIs) and standard operating procedures (SOPs) are meticulously created to insure all images are cleared for release.

He no longer has to carry a clunky laptop computer, adding weight to his already heavy camera equipment. the device weighs less than half a pound and fits in the ABU uniform pocket. Portability in a true sense.