The next time you fly, be sure not to forget your camera on the plane — your camera might make the national news. A United Airlines flight carrying 169 people from New Jersey to Switzerland was diverted to Boston last night after a camera was discovered in a seasickness bag behind one of the seats. In addition to inconveniencing the passengers, two F-15 fighter jets were scrambled to follow the plane. The camera was later discovered to be… an ordinary camera.
Apparently some of the post 9-11 terror plots uncovered by the government involved the idea of using camera bodies as bombs or bomb-triggering devices. This type of story certainly can’t be good for photographers’ rights.
When photographer Robert Johnson of Business Insider was denied so much as a tour of the Alberta Oil Sands, he could have given up. Instead he chose a more… aerial approach, renting a Cessna 172 to secretly photograph the secretive operation from just over 1,000 feet.
The Alberta Oil Sands are the second largest oil deposit in the world behind Saudi Arabia, and some of the pictures, all of which are now up on Flickr, go a long way in showing how huge an operation like this has to be. In fact, it’s a good thing they denied Business Insider access, photos from the ground probably wouldn’t have done the sands nearly as much justice.
Alex MacLean is a Massachusetts-based photographer and pilot who uses his dual interests to create epic aerial photographs.
Alex MacLean has flown his plane over much of the United States documenting the landscape. Trained as an architect, he has portrayed the history and evolution of the land from vast agricultural patterns to city grids, recording changes brought about by human intervention and natural processes. His powerful and descriptive images provide clues to understanding the relationship between the natural and constructed environments.
Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style is a spontaneous portrait project that photographer Nina Katchadourian started while traveling by plane in 2010. Here’s her account:
While in the lavatory on a domestic flight in March 2010, I spontaneously put a tissue paper toilet cover seat cover over my head and took a picture in the mirror. The image evoked 15th-century Flemish portraiture. I decided to add more images made in this mode and planned to take advantage of a long-haul flight from San Francisco to Auckland, guessing that there were likely to be long periods of time when no one was using the lavatory on the 14-hour flight. I made several forays to the bathroom from my aisle seat, and by the time we landed I had a large group of new photographs entitled Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style. I was wearing a thin black scarf that I sometimes hung up on the wall behind me to create the deep black ground that is typical of these portraits. There is no special illumination in use other than the lavatory’s own lights and all the images are shot hand-held with the camera phone.
Some people just have to flex their photographic muscles regardless of where they are… Read more…
Maho Beach outside of Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten is famous for the fact that landing airplanes fly overhead at minimal altitude. It’s one of the only places in the world where airplanes can be viewed in their flightpath just outside the end of the runway, and therefore is very popular with tourists and plane spotters. Austrian photographer Josef Hoflehner has a project titled “Jet Airliner” that consists of photos of massive jet airliners hovering over the heads of sunbathers on the beach. Read more…
Aviation photographer Justin de Reuck has an awesome job: rather than do photo shoots in the comfort of a studio, he hops into fighter jets to photograph other airplanes in flight. This behind-the-scenes video shows him at work, snapping images while zipping around above the clouds and battling G-forces. The photographs that resulted from this shoot can be seen here.
Earlier this month we shared some advice from an anonymous airline baggage handler, who revealed that hard-sided “spinners” suitcases are safest if you must transport valuables (e.g. camera gear) in checked baggage. To see why, check out the video above by Delta Airlines. They drilled holes into a hardcase and installed six outward-facing cameras to document what a bag goes through after it disappears behind those black rubber flaps and before it emerges onto the conveyor belt in the baggage claim area. The video doesn’t show any abuse, but there’s a number of points along the journey where careless handlers have the opportunity to mishandle bags.
You probably already know that it’s not a good idea to include your expensive camera gear with check in luggage, but what if you have no choice? If you must, then putting your gear inside a hard-sided “spinner” suitcase with four wheels is your best bet. The Huffington Post has published an interesting interview with an anonymous baggage handler, who gives the following advice:
Hard-sided suitcases will get less damage, but also look for well-designed handles that are attached with rivets and some sort of protection around the wheels. Speaking of wheels, the best bags to get are the “spinners” with four wheels on the bottom. We like these because we don’t have to throw them when loading. We just roll them down the belly of the plane so your bag and its contents will suffer much less damage.
The handler reveals that bags are commonly subjected to all kinds of abuse due to the strict schedules the handlers must abide by.
Photographer Edouard Janssens recently sent a weather balloon equipped with a Sony NEX-5 and a GoPro HD to the edges of space. While this isn’t exactly a novel idea, the GoPro camera managed to capture footage of a jet airliner whizzing by at roughly the same altitude!
Here’s an illuminating (pun intended) video walkthrough by photographer Eric Curry, showing how he went about creating a photo of a B-25 bomber. His technique for lighting the plane is similar to the real estate photography walkthrough that we featured last weekend, and involves lighting the scene a bazillion times from different angles, and then combining the different parts of the photo in Photoshop.
As he says in the video, it’s a useful technique that can be done by “anyone with a digital camera and a tremendous amount of patience.”