Oh snap! It’s National Camera Day and to celebrate, we’re sharing a special interview with photographer and Envoy DFW Fleet Service Clerk Darshan Patel. You may have seen his work on Instagram under the handle @darshan.p.photography, where he shares a mix of plane spotting, landscapes, portraits, and more. Darshan shares his experience at Envoy, as well as some tips for aspiring Fleet Service Clerks and photogs alike.
What piqued your interest to work in aviation?
When I was young, my dad flew a Cessna 172 and I would read over his pilot manual that came with the aircraft. This is what sparked my love for aviation and I still have that manual to this day.
It was my dad’s suggestion to look into employment with Envoy and, after researching the company, I realized it was a great opportunity.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities as a Fleet Service Clerk?
My shifts begin with familiarizing myself with the flight schedules. Then, I’m working and completing a Foreign Object Debris (FOD) walk.
Ensuring safety is the most important thing on the job, and removing potentially harmful debris from the ramp can help mitigate potential damage to people and/or aircraft. I also ensure that my gate is set up and do a safety huddle with my crew prior to aircraft arrival to ensure safety and efficiency.
My role varies from marshaling in the aircraft, wing walking, offloading and loading bags, cleaning the cabin of the aircraft, and pushing back the aircraft safely for departure.
What is your favorite part about the job?
My favorite thing to do is wing walk for departing aircraft, because you get to see people, mostly kids, waving at you. I can see how excited they are when I wave back and it makes me feel good to know that I was a positive part of their travel experience.
Pushing aircrafts for departure is also really cool!
Let’s talk #NationalCameraDay, how did you get your start in photography?
My cousin was a photographer for the 49ers football team, and a real estate photographer. He got me interested in photography, which led me to purchase my first Nikon Coolpix L330.
I soon upgraded to a Canon Rebel EOS T7. In 2016, I slowly started to develop my photography business and in 2018, I got my very first client – she loved her portraits and became a regular client!
I eventually decided to really invest in my photography business and got professional lighting for outdoor sessions. Today, I am humbled to not only have a business partner that’s a videographer but also work with high-tech equipment.
What is your camera of choice?
I use a Canon M50 and a Sony A7 IV. Soon, I will be replacing my Canon M50 for a new Canon EOS R100, which I am very excited about!
What type of aircraft do you like to shoot with your camera? Where’s your favorite place to plane spot?
My favorite aircraft to shoot is the E175 (of course), as well as American 777-300, 787, 737, A321NEO, British Airways A380, and as well as any surprising aircraft. My all-time favorite location for plane spotting is the Founders Plaza location north of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
What photography tips and tricks can you share?
Grab a camera and your best telephoto lens. FlightAware is the best app to know when, where and what aircraft are coming to any destination.
Give yourself enough time and find a good composition, so that you can get a beautiful shot of a particular aircraft.