Night Moves – The Navy under the stars

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Declan Barnes aboard USS Antietam (CG 54) caught the cruiser conducting an underway replenishment operation with the supply ship USNS Charles Drew (T-AKE 10) in the Philippine Sea on July 7.

Nighttime photography is something many people try when they get the chance – set up a camera on a tripod, get a remote trigger, see what magic can happen. Marvel at the cool effect of objects that aren’t moving seen against the blur of objects in motion.

But what happens when EVERYTHING is moving, like on a ship, at sea? Try capturing that, sports fans. The ship is moving forward, up and down, side to side. Everything in sight is moving, one way or the other, coming at ya or going away. It’s a special skill to get a good shot.

US Navy photographers are justly renowned for their visual talents and, matched with the capabilities of modern digital cameras, they often produce some wondrous results. Here are a few images taken this summer, showing the 24/7 service gettin’ it done after the sun’s gone down. 

Seaman Apprentice Edward Guttierrez III gets the stars over the Coral Sea as an MH-60S helicopter is readied for launch aboard the assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) on Aug. 8.

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Billy Ho aboard the cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) caught this scene of an SH-60 of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 48 about to lift off into an Arabian Gulf night on July 21.


Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gary Granger Jr. was in the well deck of USS New Orleans (LPD 18) on Aug. 5 as Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit filed aboard an air-cushion landing craft during exercises off the Southern California coast.

Granger caught LCAC-79 revving up and backing out of the New Orleans on Aug. 5.

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin Wolpert caught summer lightning strikes while the aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) was underway off the Atlantic coast on Aug. 3.

Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew B. Church worked to get these shots of the night sky while the amphibious ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) was underway in the Coral Sea on Aug. 10.

Church turned around to catch the Milky Way over the Germantown's bridge superstructure.

Church got this shot looking forward from the Germantown's flight deck.

Edward Guttierrez on the Bonhomme Richard again, watching as an MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 (Reinforced) prepares for a flight over the Coral Sea on Aug. 5.

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Jeffries caught an MV-22 Osprey from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 166 (Reinforced) taking off from the assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) during exercises off Southern California on July 31.

Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Scott photographed members of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 1 preparing for night dives with Canadian and New Zealand service members during amphibious exercise Dawn Blitz off Oceanside, Calif., on June 21.

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class J. Michael Schwartz shot combat rubber raiding craft being brought back on board USS Boxer during exercises June 24 off Southern California.

Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Michael T. Forbes II caught a sailor giving the go sign as an F-35B Joint Strike Fighter takes off from the amphibious ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) off the mid-Atlantic coast on Aug. 14.

Forbes also caught the dramatic nighttime vertical landing of the F-35B back on board Wasp on Aug. 14.

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paul Kelly was on the bow of the destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) on July 7 as sailors with glow sticks prepared for an underway replenishment operation in the western Pacific Ocean.

It's not all work and no play, and Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lacordrick Wilson caught sailors aboard the amphibious ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17), underway in the Red Sea on July 20, engaging in a fine old Navy tradition, watching movies on deck under a night sky.


Christopher P. Cavas
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Christopher P. Cavas

If it's on, over, under or around the water, I write about it. Ships and aircraft, units, tactics, leadership, strategies, acquisition, politics, industry. In the USA and around the world.
Christopher P. Cavas
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