Tuesday, April 20, 2010
It is has been awhile since I had gone up in an airplane for pictures budgets are tight these days but looking to illustrate a a story about Mountain House for the cover I knew we need a trip up.
Luckily a private pilot volunteered to take me for a hop around the area in his home built Sonex airplane. Doug Smith would fly me from Tracy Airport in the 22-foot-wingspan airplane for a several circles around the Mountain House area and a quick flight over Tracy on the way back to the airport. This was the smallest airplane I have ever been in, it seemed there was just barely room in the cockpit for one but I climbed on, strapped in and up we went.
The small size of the airplane meant I felt the bumpy air as we cruised around 3,00 feet toward Mountain House. The bubble canopy meant I had a great view of the ground but I had to contend with the occasional craze in the Plexiglas which left a spot or two in some photos distorted. I was worried about weight in the airplane so I brought my Canon Eos 40D and 70-200 f.4 zoom lens which was the lightest setup I could bring.
I have to admit I was a little nervous for about the first five or ten minutes of the flight, the airplane is so small it feels more like you have it strapped on your back rather than you are riding in it. But once I got down to work calling for circles and banks I forgot all about the cramped quarters. It was a good little plane and Doug was a great pilot guiding me around the city in tight banked turns.
It is a unique perspective from above and one that shows size and space best. I shot just about 600 photos as we cruised about and then headed to Tracy for a landing. If I ever go up again I will remember to take some photos of the cockpit to show the view from the bubble canopy it is a great perspective on the world form above.