I knew from the time that I was a little boy that I always wanted to skydive. I remember as a five year old seeing the image of a man "floating on top of the clouds" on the black and white T.V. in my childhood home and I remember commenting to my mother at the time, "I want to do that." and I distinctly remember her ensuing laughter. But, time passed and as soon as I was legally old enough and had saved up the money I signed up for the static line course at the "Parachute School of Toronto" in the winter of 1978-79. After completing the first jump course I had to drive five times up to the drop zone in anticipation of making my first jump only to be turned back because the runway wasn't dry and firm enough to fly off of. I finally made my first skydive on May 13, 1979. I was nineteen years old at the time. I knew from the start that I didn't want to make just "one" skydive in my life. I wanted to become a certified skydiver. In order to do that I had to spend most of my spring, summer and fall weekends (and most of my money) at the drop zone in those early years constantly jumping and honing my skills. I was heavily involved in the sport for a total of 35 years before hanging up my rig in 2012. I made 6500+ skydives in total, give or take fifty during those years and I was also privileged to win two national gold medals in Canada with a team I was a member of. We represented Canada at the World Air Games in Granada Spain in 2001 and I was also on three world records in the sport, the most notable being the largest (at the time) formation of skydivers ever assembled in the air in one formation, that being, 300 people. We set that record on December 12th, 2002, in Eloy Arizona. Also throughout those years I was involved in coaching, load organizing, and skydiving photography and videography. As photography was already a profession of mine it was an easy decision to meld my experience and love of the art with my skills in skydiving. I think that what separated me from a large number of other skydiving photographers was that I was one of the very few skydiving photographers who used a powerful flash unit. Many of the images on this page would not be possible without the use of the flash unit I had mounted on my helmet. I shot most of my earlier film air to air images with a Canon T-90 and a 24mm, f/1.4 L prime lens. When I switched to digital equipment I began with a Canon X-Si body and an 18-55mm lens and then quickly switched to a Canon 6D body with a 24mm f/1.4 prime lens and then to a Canon 5D Mark II body with the same Canon 24 f/1.4 L lens. All of the ground shots were taken with my Canon 1D Mark IV and either the Canon 24-105mm f/4.0 L, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II L, or Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II L lenses. This gallery represents a minuscule fraction of the total number of images I captured through my years in the sport but they represent the kind of images I captured during my years in the sport. I still have a parachute rig and I've kept it because I know that one day I'll make another skydive. Whether or not I'll ever get back into skydiving videography remains unclear, but I'll almost certainly jump again at some point.
© Steve Tambosso - "The Wandering Fireman"