Over coffee at Baja Taco, Cordova photographer David Little shares his love of photography and Cordova. Photo by Dick Shellhorn

When thinking of marvelous photos of Cordova, one name immediately comes to mind – David Little.

Through the lens of his camera, he has provided mesmerizing pictures of scenery and events that remind us how lucky we are to live here. Now after 15 years, Little is retiring.

Little came to Cordova through TSA security work at the Mile 13 airport. He began working for TSA in Denver where he worked for 5 years, and then took on traveling assignments to various location in Alaska. When he hit Cordova in 2005, he knew it was the place to stay.

“I was getting real tired of living out of a suitcase,” said Little. “I just couldn’t believe how beautiful it was here. I knew right away this was where I wanted to be.”

He garnered a permanent TSA assignment in 2008, and with his keen eye quickly became Cordova’s Photographer Emeritus.

His remarkable nighttime photos of Northern Lights capture moments many of us never see, and in the process made him somewhat of a night owl.

One of David Little’s amazing photos of aurora over the Cordova boat harbor. Photo courtesy of David Little

“If it looked it might be a good aurora, I would come home from work, take a nap, and then go out looking,” said Little. “Sometimes it paid off, many times it didn’t. But that’s the way it goes.”

Speaking of going out, one would think driving out to work at the Mile 13 airport for 15 years would become tedious. Not for Little.

“I enjoyed every moment of it,” Little said. “There was always something different to see, and sometimes photograph.” 

Although he did lament the large bands of alder along the road: “It’s amazing how much they’ve grown; it’s blocking the view from the road in several places.”

Main Street Cordova with Mt. Eccles and Mt. Heney under a pink sky in this classic David Little photo. Photo courtesy of David Little

Little confided the search for the perfect photo had led to a few entertaining moments.

“One time I was laying on my side trying to get the perfect angle for a reflection on a pond,” he said. “I was intently looking through the view finder, and suddenly all I see is a pair of black boots. It was a Cordova police officer seeing if I was OK.”

Little revealed that taking the photograph is just the first step in producing the end result.

“The lens of the camera just records what it sees,” he said. “The human eye may see it quite differently. What I do is go back and edit what the camera saw to match my memory of what I saw.”

Therein lies the secret to his striking photos – the light, the clarity, the colors, the composition – in the eyes of the beholder.

His works have pleased more than Cordovans. Little, the most quiet and modest man you will ever meet, mentioned that through his Facebook posts more than one visitor has told him they came to Cordova to see if it really as beautiful as it looks. They weren’t disappointed.

No one can quite capture the Annual Iceworm Fireworks Show like David Little. Photo courtesy David Little

Little is retiring from TSA, and plans on traveling for some time to visit relatives in the Lower 48 and his daughter in Australia. But he’s not about to retire his camera and love of Cordova.

“My work at TSA really tied me down,” he said. “I plan on coming back to see so many other places that I have wanted to see. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a job on a tender or fishing boat, and get to see the Copper River Delta or Prince William Sound.”

You can be sure Cordovans will welcome him back.