José M. Ramos, a nationally known aviation photographer, will join the Sun ’n Fun Marketing Communication team as Sun ’n Fun’s Photographer in Residence.
In making the announcement, Sun ’n Fun President John R. “Lites” Leenhouts, himself an accomplished photographer during his Naval career, said “he was delighted that José has accepted the offer to join Sun ’n Fun as its resident photographer. He brings years of brilliant success in shooting both aerial and static photography of today’s warbirds, documenting the full arsenal of Naval tactical aircraft in recent years.”
Ramos began documenting military aviation at the age of 18 and, for the past 22 years, has been photographing military aviation subjects all over the United States for various international media outlets, as well as the military itself. His first air-to-air photo assignment was in the F-14 Tomcat covering training operations at NAS Key West in 1997. He has logged flight time in almost every tactical aircraft type in the U.S. Navy inventory, including the F-14B Tomcat, F/A-18F Super Hornet and F-5F Tiger II, to name but a few, and is an honorary member of Fighter Squadron Composite One Eleven, the Sun Downers, at NAS Key West.
Raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, Ramos picked up his first camera, Kodak X-15, at an early age and has been snapping images ever since. He attributes the greatest influences for his aviation work to the late George Hall, CJ “Heater” Heatley, Edward Steichen, and Katsuhiko Tokunaga.
His fascination with aviation started at an early age listening to his father’s stories of flying with the Cuban Army Air Corps during the1950s and served as a basis for his passion for military aircraft and deep respect for the men and women who fly them. He continually strives to engage the public in aviation through his work by putting the viewer in the midst of the action.
As a resident of Lakeland since 1991, Ramos has been no stranger to Sun ’n Fun. In recent years he’s not only volunteered his photographic services during the annual Fly-In & Expo, but for the past three years has co-hosted the Sun ’n Fun photo contest on behalf of Nikon Professional Services, for whom he is also a contract representative at various events across the country. He also serves as contributing photographer for The Hook, the Journal of Carrier Aviation.