Monday, March 28, 2016

Shaken Stirred and Chilled, Apache Helicopter Live Fire

Heading out to the firing range for live fire.
          Not sure what it is about flying machines, but given the opportunity to go flying with the AZ National Guard to photograph an Apache helicopter pilot competition, it was a no-brainer. 

          In spite of several long hops to the firing range aboard a the powerful, vibrating, platform of a Black Hawk multi-purpose helicopter that left my insides shaken like a maraca (it's a military helicopter, troops don't have to be comfortable, I guess), and the chill of being windowless for a clear view, it was of those days that reminds me just how great this job can be. 

          As our Black Hawk pilot flew an observation pattern keeping the camera side of the bird facing the firing range, I twisted in my five-point seat belt, trying to keep the swarming Apaches in view trying to anticipate when the combat helicopters fired their weapons at targets on the ground. Not having a headset to hear communications, this was no small task. The bottom line, be ready at any hint of smoke. 

          I knew from the beginning that higher-than-normal shutter speeds and shooting many extra frames formed the foundation of my plan for overcome the combination of helicopter vibration (not to mention shivering from flight temperatures at 3,000 feet) and high speed of the combat helicopters.

          Even on a fun day, physical and environmental challenges demand a level of focus that leaves you exhausted but satisfied when the bird touches back down on the pad in Phoenix.

Colorful start to operations.
Desert training
Flying in formation over the West Valley
Loading the rocket pod.

Live fire.

Liftoff
Always wanted to take a ride in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Families, Faces and Fun


Firefighter Moms
Chef at Gio Oso
          It's all about faces. It's expressions, eyes, movement and activity. Whether doing portraits for a Raising Arizona Kids Magazine cover, a feature for Simon Med's magazine,  Banner Health's Go Kid, or showing of businesses for Local First Arizona, the goal is to find a way to get past the basic portrait.

           At every assignment I search for a way to make the image into something more, find that little extra something to make a it a more engaging, attention-grabbing image. Sometimes it's a look, or a movement, sometimes it's something someone says as a joke, or in a moment of kids being kids that inspires a different approach.

           In a time when we are all inundated with images, finding the moment that adds to the delight is the primary goal of every assignment.

          So, let me share some favorite moments that I've been privileged to capture in the last few months.

Firefighter moms from Phoenix and Glendale Fire Depts.
Crudo Chef
Ladies Lacrosse
Active families
Changing role of grandparents
Changing role of grandparents
Simon Med, a happy ending
Changing role of grandparents, RAK
Simon Med, a happy ending
Simon Med
Simon Med
Go Kid, Active families
Go Kid, Active families
Go Kid, Active families