Getting to Know Us: Terry Prather, Chief Photographer

Terry Prather - [email protected]
Terry Prather -

A message on my answering machine went something like this: “This is your number one fan Terry. Just letting you know that there will be a F18 Hornet making a low pass over the runway at Fleming-Mason Airport around noon today.”

People often ask how I am in the right place at the right time. This is what I do. I depend on any source of information I can get from the general public, our readers, friends, or anyone that wants to let the media know of interesting photos or news stories. Believe it or not, most tips turn out to be very accurate.

Back to the message. I had my doubts about the accuracy of this message at first. But knowing the person who left it, I just had to make a trip to the airport to see. It didn’t matter that it was Sunday and my day off or it would take me many months to get over it if that F18 did do what the message said it was going to do.

I arrived about 20 minutes before the mentioned time. Glad I did. It was ahead of schedule. The most incredible event that I have ever seen at this airport. I watched as this silhouetted fighter jet began making a left turn with its wing pointing straight up in the air and lining up for the runway while descending to about 100 feet (so it seemed) and moving about 250 miles per hour. All I could hear was my shutter going tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, and with two blinks of an eye, it vanished. But the sound waves from the F18 Hornet soon swept through trying to catch the jet as it turned straight upward like a rocket taking off!

That photo ‘opt’ from several years ago still stays with me just like it was yesterday.

I have been working both part-time and full time for The Ledger Independent for the past 40 years. I began as a stringer for the photo department while teaching at Mason County High School. Covering area football and basketball games on Friday nights. This would eventually turn into a part-time job on weekends for me to provide weekend coverage of news events for Monday papers.

Following my retirement as a teacher in 2002, I took a job as an emergency dispatcher with the Maysville Police Department. It was a very challenging job but wasn’t for me. I have great respect for those who perform this service to our community.

2004 found me as a full time photographer with The Ledger Independent, a job that I always wanted to do and still look forward to each day. I was covering five counties in Kentucky and two in Ohio.

My job description is to provide photos for stories that our reporters are working on. However, not all stories require photos. That provides me with time to take photographs of some of my favorite subjects to share with our readers. As most know, wildlife photos are high on my list as well as unusual things I bump into while making my rounds.

Trains, vintage cars, or people passing through our area that have a story to tell are also interesting to me and make nice photos.

Not all photo opportunities are pleasant. House fires, accidents, or things that Mother Nature sends our way. Last years flash flooding in the east end of Maysville was very heart breaking. Seeing cars crammed under culverts, houses swept from their foundations and leaving those who were involved losing everything that they have worked for, gone.

Photographing the aftermath of destroyed homes following tornadoes, high winds, and fires are especially difficult for me. Arriving on scenes of these tragedies are very emotional for me, but a job that I must do.

Got an idea for a photo? I can be reached at 606-564-9091 ext. 267. Leave me a message and I will check it out.

Terry Prather Prather

Terry Prather

[email protected]