Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Playing Chess with Helicopters

John Stonecipher, CEO of Guidance Aviation in Prescott

Framing up the image as one of the flight school managers, left, prepares to radio
instructions to a helicopter that will hover in my background for the final image.
What is your passion?

Why do you do what you do?

Days like this recent one at Prescott airport, demonstrate the answer for me.

Cool temperatures, while working with accommodating subjects who help to manage positioning of helicopters on the tarmac that was my stage and background.

In another chapter of the National Bank of Arizona's advertising campaign, Guidance Aviation, a helicopter flight training school in Prescott, Ariz., presented some unusual moving parts to the CEO portrait shoot last July.
With intermittent sun causing some squinting by our subject,
Guidance Aviation's photographer, Bryan Matuskey graciously
volunteers to cast some shade.

As we composed the photograph to figure out what was possible we used helicopters that sat on the various pads at the Guidance Aviation hangar in Prescott.

The plan, a helicopter directly behind the CEO while another, emblazoned with the new company logo, hovered in the background. As all of this went on, the plan was to also react every time a third helicopter flew through the background as a student and instructor departed for a lesson.
Meanwhile the bright red helicopter directly behind, departed for another lesson.

Okay, hold the helicopter right there and smile....
The solution, well, lets just grab another.

As a ground crewman began rolling a black aircraft toward us, I asked CEO John Stonecifer, "umm, could we swap that one for a red one so it stands out more?"

It looked like he was about to say that it wouldn't be possible, until it appeared that the thought "wait, I'm the CEO, of course I can make that happen,"  went through his mind.

"Sure, we can make that happen."

He stopped the crewman and had him retrieve a more photogenic bird and face it according to my instructions.

I felt like I was playing chess with helicopters.

By the time we began making pictures for the record, the bird was placed, the company photographer was assisting me with light modification, and the flight manager was passing on my instructions to the hovering helicopter to get it positioned just right, "could he move backwards about three feet?"

Keys radio "{cssshkkt} move back about three feet." 

"a little more"

"Perfect,{cssshkkt}!"

Thanks to John, Bryan and crew for a great day!
Secondary shot, getting light inside the bubble, and getting
the camera positioned for the picture. Unfortunately there was
no room for the photographer.
The secondary image, CEO and flight instructor in the bubble of one of the school's birds.