Green Beret to Fashion/ Glamour Photographer

February 18, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

CPT Richard von Trapp of von Trapp Photography   From Warrior to Artist.  Where I Have Been.  

   I had a highly successful 30 year career as a warrior in the army.  I started out as an Infantry Paratrooper and Pathfinder Team Leader in the 82nd Airborne.  Became a founding member of and instructor at the Special Forces Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape Course.  Finally serving as a Green Beret Weapons Leader, Medical Sergeant, Combat Diver and Dive Medical Technician. This is how I completed my first two decades of service.  

Photo of retired American Army CPT. Richard von Trapp in dress blue uniform.CPT. R.L. von Trapp USA (Ret)Photo artist CPT. R.L. von Trapp. Retired 30 year army veteran. He is a former 20-year Special Forces soldier and Master Sergeant who was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Specialty Corps as a Physician Assistant.
He served as an Infantry Paratrooper, TO&E Pathfinder (Team Leader) in the 82nd Airborne prior to becoming a Green Beret.

  My last 10 years started with my commissioning as an Army Officer, trained as a Physician Assistant.  With my degree in hand and gold bars on my shoulder, I was overnight a Second Lieutenant!  I had 5 years as a Master Sergeant at that time, and as anyone who has served as an enlisted person understands that was quite a demotion.  In prestige to say the least.  Thus started my third decade, now practicing primary care and combat medicine.  

Photo of a man in the Italian Dolomites, standing at the edge of a cliff.On The Edge by Ken Head 2013Standing high above Passo Falzarego at almost 2800M (9184ft) in the italian Dolomites. This was the fromt line in WWI where the Austro-Hungarian forces struggled, suffered, tunnelled, and fought. In the valley below Italian forces positioned themselves, both sending artillary and morter fire at each other. Just behind my right thigh, one can see Rifugio Lagazuoi. The Rifugio (refuge) is a high Alpine guest house and cablecar station.
Rifugio Lagazuoi

  My final tour of service wrapped up with 3 years as an instructor and training team leader at Ft Sam Houston Texas.  I was set on this course by the Chief of Army PA's Lieutenant Colonel Lou Smith.  I first met, then Chief Warrant Officer 3, Lou Smith when I was a Sergeant First Class serving in Bad Tolz Germany assigned to the 1st Battalion 10th Special Forces Group.  He noticed my passion for teaching and saw the quality of my work as the primary creator and senior instructor of the NATO International Long Range Reconnaissance and Patrol Medic Course given in Wiengarten Germany.  Now in the summer of 2001, LTC Smith charged me with bringing a combat mindset to the hospital world of Fort Sam medic training.  The army was finally changing its mindset of how medics were to be trained.  No longer was a hospital to be the primary emphasis.  The new 91W course was to create a Combat Medic from the ground up.  The techniques and training philosophy of the Special Operations world needed to be brought to the conventional army.  As the events of history would have it, just in time.  In my three years at Fort Sam, I and my nurse instructor with our 20 outstanding sergeants instructed some 4000 students.  We were but one of 6 such teams.      

Technical Diving Exploration Photo off of the Dry Tortugas Florida.Stand By! by Pat Ayres 2006.In May 2005 I took part in an Explorers Club Flag Mission to dive on and document a probable 19th century wooden sailing vessel. Resting at 218 feet of sea water, south of the Dry Tortugas Florida, we found a two masted vessel with a copper lined hull. Diving missions were then set up to gather high quality video and still images to create a mosaic of the wreck. The 1ft square PVC I am caring will be placed upon the deck, and be used as a visual reference for stitching the images together.

  Two years prior to retirement from service, at the end of 2004, I earned my scuba instructor certification with the prestigious National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) and have gone on to become a Mixed-Gas Technical, Open and Closed Circuit Instructor.  These ratings, alone with being qualified in technical wreck penetration, paired well with my medical and other army skills, which afforded me my the next career opportunity.

Photo of Technical Diving with a PRICM Closed Circuit Mixed Gas Rebreather in the Sinai Egypt.Diving off of the Sinai, Egypt 2011I first dove the Sinai in 1986 while assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group. I was there on a 5 month mission assigned to the U.S. Embassy teaching members of the Egyptian Rangers advanced combat trauma skills.
From 1999 thru early 2001 I returned 5 times to dive the Red Sea from Hurghada Egypt while stationed in Germany with the 1st Armor Division.
Pictured here in Sept 2011 I am about to make a closed circuit mixed gas rebreather dive to 190 feet on Yolanda Reef, Sinai.

  During the spring and summers of 2005 through 2011, I crewed aboard a research vessel in the Florida Keys.  I worked as Diving Officer, Deck Chief, Security and Medical Officer as well as deck hand, fetch and carry, cook, bottle washer and the coveted "head" custodian (bathroom janitor).  It afforded me great opportunity to do, see and be part of many miraculous projects and adventures.  

Photo of Cage Diving at the Farallon Islands, Ca.Cage Diving at the Farallon Islands.Working as the Diving Officer for a Great White Shark Adventure, I oversaw diving operations and safety. I am seen here with a customer setting them up with surface supplied air. A silhouette made of carpet in the shape of a seal can be seen at the upper right of the photo. Sept-Nov 2005. Photo of a centuries old stromatolite being loaded aboard a vessel, Grand Exuma, Bahamas.Bring the Goods Aboard ©2006.This stromatolite was the prize that was recovered by the crew of RV Tiburon in the Exumas. This mission was for the University of Miami under a permit granted to Professor Dr. Robert Ginsburg, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS). It was also an Explorer Club Flagged expedition which lasted for 2 weeks in the Bahamas.

Photo of a crew on a boat recovering an autonomous underwater vertical 200 miles off of Florida.LARS Opns 2012.Recovering the AUV after a 30-hour mission on the bottom at 4000 feet. Taken 200 miles off of the Florida coast. Here I have the pleasure of working with renowned Bahama based cave diver, Brian Kakuk who crewed with us for a season.

Capturing underwater video footage of a mission to study Stromatolite in the Exumas.Capturing Footage by T. Taylor 2006.Here I an videoing the scientists from the University of Miami while on a mission to study stromatolites in the Exumas, Bahamas. Underwater photo of a technical diver videoing an early invasion of lion fish while using a closed circuit rebreather in a blue hole, Bahamas.Over the Blue Hole by T. Taylor 2005.Here, using a closed circuit rebreather, I am returning from 150 feet in a blue hole that measures about 200 feet across and drops to over 300 feet deep. At 70 feet I stop to film an Indo-Pacific intruder to these Bahamian waters, a Lion Fish. In 2005 this fish was still infrequently seen, unlike the plague they pose now.

Underwater videographer using a closed circuit rebreather, capturing the early appearance of Lion Fish in the Bahamas.Lion Fish and Me by T. Taylor 2005.Today the Lion Fish is endangering indigenous fish of the Caribbean and Gulf waters. This may have been the first documented sighting of one in this area.

Photo of a man driving a rigid inflatable boat at sea.On The RIB by Unknown/ Von Trapp Photography 2005.CPT. R.L. von Trapp serving aboard the RV Tiburon, piloting the tender as part of a deep ocean survey using an AUWV.

Photo of a diver and Divemaster on the back deck of a boat."Diver! Make Ready" by Pat Ayers 2011.Deck Chief, CPT. Richard von Trapp USA (Ret), prepares to send a recovery diver over the side to connect a recovery line onto an autonomous underwater vertical in preparation to bring it aboard after a 30-hour mission on the bottom at 4000 feet. Two hundred miles off of the coast of Florida.

  I continued to teach SCUBA diving and have found even greater rewards doing considerable pro-bono work with the Wounded Warriors teaching Adaptive Diving classes to our amputees and injured soldiers.  They are an incredibly easy group to teach diving too.  Having come through such adversity, what's a little water and lack of air! But as of 2019 my diving career has been completed after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. 

Photograph atop Mt. Lagazuoi in Italy. DolomitesOn High by Patricia Ayers 2014.Taking It To The Edge
Taken atop Mt. Lagazuoi in the Tyrollean Dolomites of Northern Italy. At over 9000 feet it is a fantastic location with incredible views of the entire Passo Falzarego area.
Read and see more from the area on the following 3 blogs.
http://www.vontrappphotography.com/blog/2013/12/the-joy-of-returning
http://www.vontrappphotography.com/blog/2013/12/a-hikers-life-near-the-top
http://www.vontrappphotography.com/blog/2014/1/von-trapp-glamour-photography-visits-cortina-d-ampezzo

  After much thought and consideration I then decided to start career number four and return to photography.  I first joyfully started learning it in grade school and continued in high school studying graphic arts.  Now it is time to become a professional.  

Austin /San Antonio Fashion and Glamour Photographer photographs on location in Prague.The Conclave by Von Trapp Photography 2016.Prague Fashion/Glamour Shoot. Reviewing an image capture with HMUA Linda, models TerryZ and Coxy at the Franciscan Garden Apartments, Prague Czech Republic.

Beach Glamour Photo. Location glamour shoot. Sexy swimwear photo. Boudoir-Glamour Photographer.Beach Day by Von Trapp Photography 2014.Behind the Scenes of a beach glamour shoot in Port Aransas Texas. This early morning shoot was created by using two studio strobes and a beauty dish. We were kept on our toes by the weather which created the dramatic sky, but also the necessity to keep the gear protected from the passing showers. This love-hate relationship is one of the reasons I enjoy the challenge of shooting on location.

Behind the Scenes photo taken in Naarden Holland of a photographer and assistant photographing a woman.casual elegance by robpolderPhoto shoot in Naarden Vesting with Joy D.
Mode/HMU: Joy Draiki
Model Mayhem #2798173
Photo assistant Emanuele Photographer: CPT. R. von Trapp
Hosted by local photographer Rob Polder
Behind the Scenes photo taken in Naarden Holland of a photographer and his model.collaboration v.1 by robpolderA day of Joy. After a daylong shoot in Naarden Vesting, the crew breaks for dinner, which gives me and model Joy a chance to review what we have created. We would go on to another 3 hours during the night.
Mode/HMU: Joy Draiki
Model Mayhem #2798173
Photo assistant Emanuele Photographer: CPT. R. von Trapp
Hosted by local photographer Rob Polder

Behind the Scenes photo taken in Naarden Holland of a photographer and assistant photographing a woman in lingerie outdoors.attention by robpolderCreating glamour in Naarden Vesting with Joy. A behinds the sceans capture created by fellow shooter Rob. Mode/HMU: Joy Draiki
Model Mayhem #2798173
Photo assistant Emanuele Photographer: CPT. R. von Trapp
Hosted by local photographer Rob Polder
Behind the Scenes photo taken in Naarden Holland of a photographer and assistant photographing a woman in lingerie outdoors.say cheese by robpolder 2018.Fashion shoot in Naarden Vesting with the delightful Joy. Our amazing Dutch model disrobed for our camers in the centures old star-shaped fortress. Here Von Trapp Photography paired up with Dutch shooter Rob Polder to create wonderful fashion and art nude images in this fantastic location. Model: Joy Draiki Model Mayhem # 2798173. Photo Assistant:
YouTube video of Naarden.
More info about Naarden.

  Since that that choice I challenge myself each day to expand my skills as a photographer. Along with my client shoots, I travel each year to shoot personal projects in fashion, editorial and art nude around the world in-order to add to my portfolio and knowledge.

Photo of photographer planning for a fashion-glamour shoot in Venice Italy.Planning The Venice Shoot by Von Trapp Photography 2015.What Goes Into Planning a Photo Shoot. Fashion/Glamour Photographer Richard von Trapp planning for a 2015 Venice Italy glamour/fashion photo shoot.

Click here to read my 4 part blog about the planning and execution of this fabulous location shoot in Venice.

  Thank you for taking interest and the time to visit with me. I hope that you will return often and perhaps afford me the chance to serve your photographic needs.

  I am available for travel out of town and out of country.

  Best Wishes,

  Richard 

 

 


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