Photons In, iPhone Out
I observed, once, that "the ideal helicopter air-to-air photo platform includes a large flat space in the cabin with the doors removed from both sides." I mentioned, too, that air-to-air work with the Arizona Department of Public Safety was in the offing, and I subsequently completed two flights with the doors off. We went for varied locations and approaches and came back with good photos and a good story with a, thankfully, happy ending.
Up first, DPS' Bell 407 N58AZ leaves behind Red Mountain, east of Phoenix, heading back to base. This open, horizontal composition places the aircraft in a recognizably Arizona setting and would work well as an opening spread in a magazine article or interior of a brochure. The low-contrast background, especially the broad swath of sky, leaves plenty of room and readability for large titles and/or body copy.
This next image puts another Bell 407, N42AZ, over lava beds north of Flagstaff, Arizona. The shutter speed is slow, so the rotor blades describe attractive arcs, the background is out of focus (not so noticeable at this size, but trust me) which separates the aircraft, visually, from the background, and the composition is relatively tight and framed vertically. These last two elements make it a great image for a magazine cover or a product card.
Finally, another result of having two huge holes where the doors normally are. Here's the story:
That's what it looked like after the 500-foot drop from our 100-knot cruising speed. Not pretty but, surprisingly, it still worked. Sort-of. The screen would light up with the appropriate images (well, what you could make out of the images), and my Watch worked with it to send and receive text messages, so…Five hours later, I had a new phone, courtesy of Apple. (And they had a new story to tell.)
If it had fallen out in this area, only an intrepid bighorn sheep would have had a chance to use it, and I don't think there's service at the bottom of the Little Colorado Canyon.
Good photos. Bad personal-item security. Lesson learned.
Keywords: Arizona, accident, aviation, broken, busted, cracked, crashed, dangerous, drop, dropped, eject, fallen, falling, helicopter, iPhone, insecure, photography, poor preparation, safety, secure, security, smartphone, smashed
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Photography is a massive field. Aerospace photography less so. In these writings I share stories and tips.