Creatively, one can find inspiration in many forms. The muse is fleeting and unpredictable. When I was putting together the first tracks for the album that would eventually be entitled “In Transit” back in 2009, there was no thematic thread to pull on. This runs in stark contrast to my previous release, “Dust of the American Pixel”, which had a firm theme and concept from gestation. The whole idea of “In Transit” really didn’t come together until I laid my half-eye upon the skin of a certain old aircraft baking in the sun.
A Flying Passion
Anyone who knows me knows I’m something of an aviation geek. This reaches back into my childhood when my dad would take me to the airport to watch planes. Bird watching of the mechanical kind. We would go to the big airports like Ft. Lauderdale International and MIA, but we would also frequent the smaller airports where the general aviation birds flock.
One of those airports was Opa Locka Airport in Dade County. Opa Locka (or, in aviation parlance, KOPF) was a former military airbase. When I was a kid, it housed the usual collection of Cessnas and Beechcrafts, but also was home to older airliners and war birds. It wasn’t uncommon to stumble upon an old WWII fighter like an F4U Corsair there, or a Mustang or something. Also it was something of a functional boneyard, with small freight outfits flying older prop airliners converted for cargo, ferrying materials to the neighboring islands. It is at KOPF that I fell in love with those big beautiful radial engines and their husky sound. These are memories imprinted on me like a brand from childhood. I’ve loved old birds and aviation in general ever since those days.
So it was something of a symmetrical moment last year when I stumbled upon a website dedicated to a beautifully restored Eastern Airlines DC-7 that just happened to be based at KOPF.
Tying It Together
One of the underlying themes I stumbled upon by accident when recording this record was the recurring mention of geographical places and modes of transport. Again, I didn’t plan on all these mentions of turnstiles and flights from Amsterdam to MIA, but there it was. Once I recognized this, I went about fashioning the last few songs with the theme of being “In Transit” in mind. So what is the visual theme here? I played around with an idea with using a bus, an old GM Fishbowl bus from the 1950s, as the artwork focus. But those are hard to find around here.So, enter the DC-7. Specifically, DC-7B N836D owned and operated by the Historical Flight Foundation. This baby had all the nostalgic look and feel I was looking for PLUS the added bonus of being located at KOPF. Talk about beautiful circumstances! A phone call to the number on the website put me in touch with Roger, who listened to my artist’s schpeel and kindly arranged access for me to photograph the aircraft for the album in exchange for a modest donation to their foundation. Quickly, I rounded up two dear friends, Nancy and Geoff, who are shutterbugs with different views, picked a date and prayed for good weather.
A Cold, Rainy February
We caravanned down to KOPF on a rainy, overcast Saturday last February and had an absolute blast. Here are some of the pics, and as you can see, the weather was actually artistically perfect. Dreary and cold. Nancy and Geoff have different backgrounds and look for different things which makes for a nice contrast.Also, as mentioned, this was all done in February. Talk about procrastination! No, not really. More like a matter of money and time to finish this project up properly But being on the cusp of releasing this thing, I hope this gives you guys a little glimpse into the process.
And of course, to Roger, Nancy and Geoff – a BIG “Thank You” for all the help and for being a part of “In Transit”…
(All Photographs fall under the copyright of Geoff Berygey and/or Nancy Goldwin. All rights reserved.)