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When you do get a chance to shoot air to air, choose your platform, pilot and subject carefully. I can't tell you the number of times I've been told, "my buddy rents this 172 and he can fly you to take the pictures", or "we don't need a trained formation pilot and a safety pilot, all I want are a couple of good shots". There's a million ways to be suckered into a dangerous situation by the lure of a great air to air image. I've done hundreds of air to air shoots and if they aren't done right, they're risky business. You lessen the risks considerably by knowing your crew, knowing that your subject pilot/aircraft are formation proficient, and that everyone understands the objectives and how you plan to get there. It is just flat amazing how quickly two aircraft can get together (in a bad way) if anyone loses their focus. Most of the editorial stuff I shoot, the aircraft I'm shooting is being flown by the same gentleman. He's an F-15 instructor instructor and has been there many times over and has all the t-shirts. We know each other so well in the air that we could almost do the routine without a transmission, but we know the risks, so nobody moves without announcing intentions and getting confirmation. The discipline keeps you safe, and if you think it's not hard for each person to burn a hole in their task, ask my pilot how bad he wanted to look over at that Mustang tucked up underneath our wing.
Hope you get to do it, it's a thrill each and every time. One time will give you a tremendous respect for the process, cause you're shooting something that's moving, from something that's moving, and you're both suspended in air that's moving. Sometimes even your breakfast is wanting to move!
Good luck, keep safe!
Edited by JWilsonphoto on Oct 19, 2006 at 07:56 AM GMT (Reason: spelling)
Edited by JWilsonphoto on Jan 27, 2007 at 03:34 PM GMT (Reason: spelling)
Edited by JWilsonphoto on Sep 04, 2007 at 02:52 PM GMT