Randy Hepp Bio:
Originally from the mid west, Belleville, IL.
Got my first camera in 1966, a gift from my brother.
My interest in photography started with my Uncle Gene, a local news paper Photographer.
Started my career in photography as Yearbook photographer, School News Paper photographer in High School and at the same time was working for a local wedding photographer. Yearbook and News Paper photographer at Belleville Area Collage.
After BAC went into the Army Reserves where I got my first flight in a Helicopter.
Completed active duty in Alabama, started working for a local portrait studio, where I spent time perfecting my color printing and started working on my photographic skills, working for McDonnell Douglas, Allied Photocolor, and Artcraft Studio. Bought Artcraft Studio later, then back to McDonnell Douglas, which rounds out my basic photographic experiences.
McDonnell Douglas is how I got to Pax River.
During my career I have been a wedding, Baseball Cardinal, product, portrait, sports, fashion, event, news and aircraft flight test photographer.
To round out my experiences I was a carnival barker, heavy equipment operator, professional boxer, helicopter mechanic, truck driver, marine contractor, professional lake drainer, building washer, boat builder, farmer, movie director, husband, father, and now a grandfather of 8+.
All of these experiences prepared me for my biggest job as a US Navy Test Photographer. I have flown in more than 32 different types of aircraft from my first, UH1B to F18-F. Accumulated more than 4700 flight hrs, with over 1200 hrs in F18's, 56 carrier traps, been aboard 17 different US Navy ships, and 2 foreign aircraft carriers.
Some of my most memorable photo assignments:
Photographed President Ford, the CEO of McDonnell Douglas J.S McDonnell, the wedding of a Navy Test pilot and Astronaut and the first the Female Test Pilot, first flight of the F18, the first time 4 F18s flew together, then later the first time 5 Super Hornets flew together. Was the first civilian to fly in the backseat of an F18 during an Air show, working with several TV shows film crews, and one Movie company, and the latest was capturing the first landing of the JSF here at Pax, with this photo going around the world in minutes.
Photography has always provided me with a comfortable livelihood. Now I am retired and having as much or more fun than any F18 ride (well almost).