Shooting From a Helicopter


The day before my Lightroom seminar in New York last week, my buddy Gabe Biderman surprised me and Dave Moser by chartering a helicopter to take us an aerial shooting tour of Manhattan (the photo above of me trying to mask my fear, is by Gabe).

Now, I’ve only been in a helicopter once, and I don’t remember too much about it (I was mostly staring at the ground and praying), except I do remeber that when we finally landed my hands were beet red from clutching the handles so tightly on the back of the seat.

So, when they strapped me in with nothing more than a car seatbelt, and the pilot told me we would be leaving the side door open so we could have an unobstructed shooting view, I let the pilot know that there was no way in heck (and I didn’t say heck) I was going to be the guy sitting by the open door (which was good, because as we circled the Empire State Building, the chopper was tilted over so far I felt like I was going to fall out even with the door closed!).

As soon as I heard what Gabe had planned for us, I called Joe McNally for some tips on shooting from a chopper, seeing as he just taught a workshop in Dubai on shooting from a helicopter. Unfortunatley, I missed him and left a message. I didn’t get Joe’s return message until about an hour after we landed (of course, he had some great tips, as always). So, I wound up shooting about 362 of the lamest shots you’ve ever seen (except that you won’t see them—that’s how lame they are). Anyway, the flight was smooth (as opposed to my only other Helicopter experience, where I was bouncing around like a BB in a boxcar), and despite the fact that I took about 8 Gig of total rejects, I still had a blast!!!! Thanks Gabe—that was really a treat :)

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