21 August 2011

Every Day Hero

Meet Marine Corps Sgt. Tristeza Castellanoz:

What began as a casual interest in photography for Marine Corps Sgt. Tristeza Castellanoz has grown into a long-term hobby, a method of expression and a potential career for the Nyssa, Ore., native. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Rashaun X. James

By Marine Corps Cpl. Rashaun X. James
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2011 – Marine Corps Sgt. Tristeza Castellanoz hasn’t let her deployment here get in the way of her passion for shooting – pictures, that is.

Capturing moments in time is a passion for Castellanoz. What began as a casual interest in photography has grown into a long-term hobby, a method of expression and a potential career for the Nyssa, Ore., native.

Castellanoz’s interest in photography began when she was around 13, she said, when she always had an abundance of film rolls to be developed, full of whatever images she captured in the world around her.

Now Castellanoz is an aviation operations specialist deployed here with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. As the wing’s air tasking order chief, she oversees air support requests from Marines and their coalition partners operating in southwestern Afghanistan.

Castellanoz has a busy job during her year-long deployment here, but when a lull in her schedule presents itself, she often grabs her professional-grade digital camera and continues to hone her skills, finding her weaknesses and strengths. The thing she enjoys most is photographing people.

“I like seeing how a person grows over time,” she said. “It’s interesting for me to see how my siblings, who all have children now, have grown up and how much their children favor them.”

The people around Castellanoz often become the subjects of her photos. “I took pictures of the Marines in my exercise class and let them have them afterwards,” she said. “My officer in charge was telling me that he sent them to his wife as well as other Marines that work for me.”

Having had no formal training, Castellanoz progresses her skills by experience alone, taking any opportunity to capture a unique moment.

“Since I got my new camera, I’ve gotten a lot of offers from people to come and take photos for them,” she said. “I do photography jobs on the side now, mostly for friends and family. When I went home on emergency leave, I did a photo session for my best friend to give to her father on Father’s Day.”

Castellanoz said she has received several offers to photograph weddings and other events, but has had to turn them down due to her deployment. However, being deployed to a foreign land yields its own set of unique opportunities....

Go read the rest here.

Thank you for your service, Sgt!

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