It's not every day that someone's passion can turn into the chance of a lifetime.
However, that's exactly what happened to Carl Jones, a U.S. Army civilian employee with Tank-automotive and Armaments Command at the Detroit Arsenal, who used his digital photo editing skills to work with the San Francisco 49ers at this year's big game.
"I've been into photography and photo editing at the semi-professional level for about the past 10 years," Jones said, "but I have really only been into football and sports photography the last 3 years."
Jones got into photography when he was a lot younger because of his dad. At six-years old, Carl got his first film camera, an Olympus XA3, and was bitten by the photo bug.
He has carried a camera with him ever since and has naturally progressed throughout the years into digital photography, where learning how to do photo editing was a necessity.
He became interested in shooting football and other sports after meeting Terrell Lloyd, head team photographer for the San Francisco 49ers. From there, Jones started shooting photos for games at his alma mater, King High School in Detroit, as well as some games for Wayne State University and the Army All-American Bowl.
During the 2018-2019 season, Dan Lippitt, the former Detroit Pistons team photographer and current head photographer for the Detroit Lions Cheerleaders, took on Carl as one of the Lions' cheerleader's photographers where he started during the pre-season and helped them increase their fan base.
Through his growing relationship with Lloyd, Jones landed his position on the 49ers photography team for the big game where he was responsible for downloading images from camera memory cards, filing those images, and uploading them to team databases to be used for social media and graphics in an expedient manner.
"The tempo is very busy from pre-game to post-game," Jones said, "The public is consuming large amounts of digital content online and you have to be able to push content out in real time."
Jones added that anyone looking to turn something that they enjoy into their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity needs to perfect their craft by learning everything they can, from any resource they can.
However, he said the most important thing is to "network and build genuine relationships with those in their [desired] field."
Carl applies this same philosophy to his position at TACOM, where he is responsible for all logistics activities associated with the Buffalo A2 Route Clearance Vehicle in the Multi Mission Protected Vehicle Systems Product Manager office.
The balance of his job as an Army civilian with his personal life is one of the things he enjoys, because it gives him more time to pursue his passion in photography. Jones is one of more than 330,000 Army civilians filling a critical need to support American Soldiers both on and off the field.