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Swikar Patel - The Journal Gazette
Lance Corporal Brandon Long arrives at Fort Wayne International Airport Saturday afternoon escorted by Marines. On December 21, 2010 while serving in Afghanistan, Long stepped on a 40-pound improvised explosive device two days before his daughter was born, blowing off both of his legs at the knee. Long will be home for about 2 weeks before heading off to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC for rehabilitation.

Plan, Then Scramble

Camera: NIKON D3S

Shutter: 1/320 s

Aperture: f/2.8

Exposure Setting: Manual (Center-Weighted Average)

ISO: 3200

Strobe Flash: Did Not Fire

Lens Focal Length: 24 mm

White Balance: Auto

Shooter's Comments: I met the Long family earlier in the week while covering volunteers building a wheelchair-accessible ramp for Brandon. It was a great opportunity to meet and talk with the family and I was fortunate enough to also cover the arrival on Saturday. Lisa gave me the green light to accompany the family right up to the gate to catch the moment Brandon got off of the plane, but that didn't go over well with TSA, as they flagged me and told me to hang back.

I wasn't sure which way Brandon was going to enter from, so I set up in a way that covered both directions. Brandon's dad stayed back as well, so my plan was to get their first interaction. So, there I am, all ready and as Brandon heads towards us, his dad rushes to greet him. They converge right behind a "do not enter sign" where I have a frame of Brandon half-covered and his dad hugging him in the wheelchair. Go figure.

After that moment, it was a free-for-all trying to compose a shot. It happened fast. I was lucky enough to catch Brandon passing through while framing him between two Marine escorts. I really wanted something more emotional from the day, but it was that kind of event.

Brandon is home for the next two weeks before he heads to Walter Reed in DC for rehab.

- Swikar Patel, Photojournalist

Editor's Note: Don't miss Swikar's photo gallery from this event.

- Lara Neel, Visual Editor

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