Note: no doors

If you know me you know how much I hate heights. The higher, the more difficult; I have issues on 8 foot ladders, even they are too high. Recently a client asked me to quote them the cost for aerial shots of one of their buildings in Center City Philadelphia. I considered telling them no thank you but they are my client of the year for 2014 so how can I say no? Besides, I have done some crazy things to get “the shot.” Remind me to tell you about hanging off the back of a cruise ship sometime.

Well I did some research and I gave my client a quote which they approved. This was a couple of months ago so I’m like great, I have a gig in May. No worries, its so far away… it was Monday.

I knew the best thing for me to do was to keep the camera in front of me and everything would be fine. The pilot gives me the usual safety speech, including the part about “unscheduled landings.” Unscheduled? That’s called crashing. Lets see if we can avoid those shall we? As he is telling me all of this he is removing the doors so I “have a clear shot when we get up there.” I noticed he didn’t take off his door though. hmmm…

I get in expecting some type of harness system that one might expect to see in a fighter jet or an indy car. Imagine my surprise when I see a standard seatbelt that looks like it came out of a 1975 Chrysler Cordoba. I am not getting any warm and fuzzies here. Then we lift off. After the initial waving and the climb up to a standard flying altitude, I am starting to get really nervous. The wind is blowing lightly at 10-15mph and its not too bad as I hold on to the railing for dear life. Then I remember, I have my cameras with me!

I pull out the cameras, make sure they are secure and I adjust my settings for what I am expecting when we get over the city. I take a couple of test shots and I suddenly feel almost normal. Well that can’t be. Oh wait, I am a photographer and I have a camera in my hands, OK I can do this. With those cameras in my hands I didn’t notice the wind, the movement of the aircraft, or the fact that we were a couple of thousand feet off the ground. I just concentrated on my job and shot these images.

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