The Nikkor 14-24 f2.8 is a pretty cool lens, but ya gotta be careful tipping that puppy around, or pushing it in way close for a portrait. On board a nuke sub, though, especially with 30 degrees down on the dive planes, it’s gonna get a little tippy here and there, mostly ’cause you’re standing at an angle that generally is reserved for mountain climbing and the like.
It’s the perfect lens for the tight spaces of a sub. Shot this with a little fill flash the other week in San Diego, onboard the USS Hampton, a Los Angeles class fast attack sub out of San Diego. Great day. Hit 600 feet on a dive, and did some of what submariners call “angles and dangles,” which you can guess the nature of. Great crew on board, who really looked after us landlubbers. We were the guests of Commander William Houston, the CO of the Hampton, and Commodore Brett Genoble, who is in charge of the Point Loma sub base. They really filled us in on the nature of the mission of the boat.
Hadn’t been onboard a nuke boat since the book Day in the Life of the U.S. Military, where I went out on the boomer Henry Jackson, out of sub base Bangor, in the state of Washington. The boomers are huge by comparison to the Hampton, which is designed to dive deep, and move fast. Regardless of size, though, the subs are absolute marvels of space use and economization.
On the Jackson, crewman takes a rest just a few feet from a ballistic missile. Welcome to the strange world under the waves.
Up at Bangor, the sea lions like the warmth of the boat’s power plant, and just park it there all day long, getting toasty.
My thanks go out to the men and woman who serve across the board, and especially the crews who undertake this very daunting task and lifestyle. When they slide under the waves, they are gone for a while, and few know where they travel. Especially grateful to all the folks at Point Loma who made the visit happen. It coincides with a book effort I am currently writing for my alma mater, LIFE Magazine. More on that tk…..