CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- Liking photography is an understatement for Air Force Tech. Sgt. Daisaku Dixon. He loves photography, he said, because it allows him to become a story-teller as he captures his favorite moments while living in the Benelux.

Dixon's photo "Wanna Race" won first place in the 2018 U.S. Army Digital Photography Contest's "Still Life" category in the active-duty personnel division. The fuels manager for the 424th Air Base Squadron at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, Dixon heard about the contest from his wife Michelle who encouraged him to submit entries.

For Dixon, it was the first photography contest he participated in, and he debated on submitting the photo which received top recognition. The photo, which features race goggles on a cloudy day in Tongeren, Belgium, was inspired by his friend from a deployment.

"The only reason why I even snapped the photo was due to an old friend from a deployment in 2011," said Dixon. "His name is Jordan Parkey, and I took a picture of him wearing similar goggles on a bus we were all piled on one afternoon [during the deployment]. I immediately told him about this picture and informed him that I was still inspired by his goggles he wore that day."

CAPTURING MOMENTS

Dixon's passion for photography began around age 13. He signed up for a photography class and started shooting photos with a Pentax SLR on 35 mm film. In the class, he first focused on black-and-white photography and learned how to develop photos in a darkroom and create film rolls. He then transitioned to digital photography and now shoots with a Canon 7D.

What Dixon loves about photography is his ability to tell a story.

"I'm allowed to change the photo into anything I want or can within the capacity of its parameters," said Dixon. "It's like a new canvas with every snap of the camera. I get to either keep the image more in its true state or alter it as he much as I want."

Living in the Benelux is a source of inspiration for Dixon. He said that there are always unique opportunities to document and capture local festivities and historical architecture. He encouraged aspiring photographers to explore the local area and "find something to make interesting."

"Take anyone with you, absorb something new, capture it so that it can possibly either bring you joy in the future or joy for someone else when you share it," he said.

The U.S. Army Digital Photography Contest is conducted annually by Installation Management Command's G9 Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Directorate to encourage U.S. military personnel and families to capture their favorite views, moments and adventures from all across the world. To learn more about the contest and see all winning photos, go to https://www.armymwr.com/digitalphoto.