flighty photos

a 1959 photo of Montreal by air

Toronto. Some photographers use propeller driven aircraft in their activities. Exec member Wayne Gilbert often used a small aircraft as he shot views of buildings. This ceased when his friend and pilot retired. The use of a small aircraft circumvented the very restrictive limitations on using and flying the little drones that are the rage this century.

Some speakers have also used small aircraft. George Hunter did so, sometimes with frightening but hilarious results. George recounted how he ‘borrowed ‘a plane and pilot out west. His process was to remove a door (he had regulation pins to restore it later) and have the pilot fly low and slow to get a good shot. In this case George fell out of the plane, landed on a wing strut, and was hauled in at the last minute – camera and body.

A few years later the pilot emailed me to confirm that George had used his plane that fateful day!

George mentioned doing work for LIFE magazine and taking photos across America in the early evening balancing city lights and waning daylight. At one point he noticed he was tailed by military aircraft and promptly landed. Turned out he had accidentally shot a NO PHOTOGRAPHS military compound (he was allowed to send the non military shots off to LIFE in NYC)!

The photo at the upper left was taken on Kodachrome out the window of a propeller driven commercial aircraft. I adjusted the sharpness and contrast as much as possible. Now-a-days commercial aircraft all use jet engines and fly miles above the clouds. The old propeller driven aircraft flew low enough that you could see the ground easily on a cloudless day.

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