(CNN) — Navy photographer Ignacio Perez likes to shoot landscapes, but never dreamed he’d shoot an amazing one on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
But on Tuesday around 10:30 a.m., as the USS John C. Stennis cruised in the Pacific Ocean, he got the shot of a lifetime: the 115,000-ton, 1,100-foot-long warship steaming through a rainbow.
“As a photographer I am used to documenting operational events like aircraft launches and recoveries,” Perez, a 21-year-old mass communications specialist third class, said in an email. “But when I saw the rainbow I was excited because it was different. I knew the odds of the ship passing near another rainbow were pretty slim.”
Perez was fortunate he was on the ship’s flight deck on another assignment when things began to fall into place.
“I was actually covering the end of a 5K run on the flight deck at the time, but I noticed the rainbow as a fog cloud was breaking and quickly changed my location to ensure I had a better view of the ship passing underneath it,” Perez said.
So would he call it the best photo he’s ever taken?
“I honestly don’t like to rank my photos because I think every image is important, but it is definitely unique,” said Perez, who hails from Helendale, California.
The Stennis is the first duty station for Perez, a three-year Navy veteran who graduated from mass communication specialist school at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, in November 2012.
Perez is also a Navy award winner, taking home the Russell Egnor Navy Media Award honorable mention for photography — operational documentation — in 2013.