Being There; Kevin Fleming’s “Heart Of America” Page 2

Of course, some subjects for the book were taken at planned events and involved being in the right area of the country at the right time. Some of the images that show these unique events include those made at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, with a formal, full-dress parade of 4000 midshipmen, the Kentucky Derby, and the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally in South Dakota.

Kid In Hat

John Peirano, 6, from Angels Camp, California, is the fifth generation in the family's cattle ranching business.

Many of his wildlife and landscape subjects are far from the highways and byways of America. Fleming shot some of these photographs only after hours of off-road travel by horseback, snowshoes, or snowmobile. For his aerial photographs, he used an ultralight aircraft, helicopters, airplanes, and a hot air balloon. He's also used an airboat, paddled in kayaks, and spent a week white-water rafting. Spending the time to get the right shot is immensely important to Fleming.

Timing Can Be Everything
"Sometimes I just screech to a stop and get the camera," Fleming says, "especially for scenic stuff. It's right there, right now, without talking to anybody, without getting permission from anybody. It's that simple." But not usually.

In Monument Valley in Arizona, behind one of the Twin Mittens, Fleming came across a skeleton of a horse in midday. Fleming recognized that thousands of photographers have been photographing Monument Valley for years, and he wanted something different. He came back the next morning, before dawn, and set up.

Girl On Horse

Sarah Turner at 13 in Haines, Alaska, sits astride her Icelandic horse named Kari.

"Just at sunrise, it was everything I waited for--but only for a moment. The sun's rays lit the ribs of the horse, just the ribs, and the butte in the background. Everything else was still in shadow." The intensity in his voice and the passion in his eyes show his pride in capturing just the right image. "Ten seconds later, it was gone. The moment was over forever." Again, he tells me, "You
can't be late. You have to be there."

Fleming used only available light for his work--no flash, no filters, no computer enhancements. If it looks like an incredibly blue sky with just the right light, it's because it was an incredibly blue sky with just the right light. "I spent the time to be there," he says, "to wait until it was right."

To learn more about Kevin Fleming, visit his website at:

Flag Painted On Shed

Clarence Barlow is a proud American touching up a farm shed near Harrington, Delaware.

Gear For The Road
Fleming carries three Nikon film cameras for his bookwork, usually F100s--although he started the book with F5s--with lenses ranging from 17-600mm. "I get higher quality pictures for my sunrise and sunset shots, and a wider wide angle, than with my digital," he says. "I just feel more comfortable with film for book photographs." He did most of the work with three Nikkor zoom lenses: 17-35mm, 35-70mm, and 80-200mm, using Fuji Velvia and Provia color slide film.

He has a Mac G5 with dual 1.8GHz processors along with two Mac G4s on his desk, where he uses Photoshop for his pre-press work and Quark for the book design. An Epson 4000 allows him to make his own color match proofs.