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Lightening up a “hero”

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

In June 2008, Fredericksburg (va.) Police officer Joe Young took up a tactical position to help stop a gunman from killing a fomer girlfriend. His actions saved lives, but fellow officer Todd Bahr was killed in the line of duty by the same gunman.

Officer Young, as well as two city deputies, were awarded the Medal of Honor for their brave actions that summer night.

Officer Young is also nominated for an award from the television show "America’s Most Wanted." (You can vote for Officer Young by going to this link.

I was assigned to provide a still image for print, as well as provide a short video piece for

What appeared to most as a beautiful, bright sunny spring day – i.e., "what a great day for taking pictures" – can be a day that too bright to take pictures.

Looking through the viewfinder, and using my hand as an extended lens shade, I noticed that I needed to "add" some light to the top half of Officer Young. (See image number one.) 

FPD Officer Joe Young standing in the shadows.

Not being one that argues with the light – or the fact that The Almighty is controlling brightness and contrast – I used a single off-camera flash unit (Nikon SB-800) – the zoom head "zzomed out" and set at 1/2 full power – and a Pocket Wizard to trigger the flash.

Image number two shows my minimal lighting scheme. 

Nikon flash (left) pointed towards Officer Young.

The result is a brightened – if not brighter – Officer Joe Young, with a proper amount of "fill flash" in his face and upper torso. (Yes, there is detail in his dark blue uniform.) For added excitement, a bit of the flash struck the side of his police cruiser and then "bounced" back into his left side. Below is image three:

(I’d like to thank the "man above" for the "rim light".)

A properly lit Officer Joe Young.

In all seriousness, Officer Young, and all of the officers who responded to the domestic violence incident of June 6, 2008 – as well as the investigating officers – deserve praise and honor for their selfless acts and efforts to serve and protect.

Bob Martin

The Free Lance-Star