Sunday, December 27, 2009

Amazing Assignments...

As a photojournalist for a newspaper, some very rare times you get the opportunity to have amazing experiences. I was one of the few not afraid of heights or being a little daring. So I was able to enjoy many of the assignments where others preferred to keep their feet on the ground.

The photo to the left was taken over Lake Erie, high above downtown Cleveland. Three WWII planes were in town for a local air show. One of the reporters (an ex) was given this assignment. I was then assigned to also go. My heart pumping as I drove to the Airport Marina in Cleveland excited to perform maneuvers over Lake Erie.

We meet the pilots, talked about their experiences. They travel all over the US to attend these events. The planes were original, used during the war and re-built. After a brief discussion of what we will do. Both the reporter and I climbed into our own planes. He with his notebook; and I with my D1 and 28-70mm f2.8 lens in my hands and around my neck. I had my camera bag wrapped around my feet and zipped.

I climb in, and am instructed to put on the head phones so we can talk while in flight. Take-off is smooth and my heart beings to pump, a smile growing wider across my face. We are off and all three in perfect formation flying over Cleveland. He then asks me, “So what would you like to do?”

Smiling I said “everything you got” The first move was a loop. All I could do was yell “Whoohoo!” The first move showed me how hard it was to hold a D1 with a g-force pushing everything in your body your hands downward. My D1, which was a normal weight, tripled. All I could do was laugh. Looking through the camera was impossible, not unless I wanted a black eye or bloody nose.

So I shot from the hip, in a sense (more like shot from the shoulders); it took all my strength, energy and control to keep the camera up. My arms hurt for three days after the assignment. Thank god I didn’t have to change rolls of film. That would have been impossible.

We did barrel rolls, more loops, and created a smoke trail. The world became a confusing, upside down place, not sure how they maintain any sense of directions about them. It was one of the best experiences, assignments, I have ever had. We finally land; I am smiling from ear to ear, ready for more. My adrenaline is raging. As the reporter and I are walking back to the car, I ask him what he thought. He said “I don’t know I had my eyes closed.”

All Io could think was “WHAT!!!” are you kidding me???

The assignment should have been given to a reporter that would have enjoyed the day. I was floored, and then realized why it was a good thing we were no longer together.

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