Photography Familiarization Flight One. The objective was crew coordination, aircraft and photo equipment limitations and establishing safe operations. If we got any good pictures on this flight that would be a bonus, as we were really trying to figure out how to do it. Our subject would be the Reserve housing development and possibly a nearby church.
Saturday afternoon the weather was good, but we had spent the morning with other activities and were already worn out. Pushing a training flight would probably frustrate the both of us so we held off for another day. Sunday morning the weather was still calm with clear skies so I went out to the airport to get Sally ready. All preflight checks were good.
We took off to the south and turned on course to the development. I wanted to try two cruise altitudes for the photo runs and started with the high pass first running east to west with left hand turns. The second pass would be 500' lower but fly the same rectangular pattern. This is not as easy as it sounds. I am very comfortable with the ground reference maneuvers but setting up the proper standoff for the best camera angle and accounting for sun position for shadows, etc takes some experience. Meanwhile she was busy with the camera technology working in a unique environment while trying to exercise the best photographic techniques.
We were close to the Butter Valley traffic pattern so I kept their CTAF tuned in and made frequent position calls using the prominent race track as a reference point. I also let traffic pattern aircraft know when I had them in sight. After less than an hour we were tired and headed for home.
It was a GREAT session, we both learned a lot. As I relaxed at home I read portions of Billy Fortney's "America at Five Hundred Feet". I follow his blog and really enjoy his work, especially the aviation photos. As I was reading through the opening pages I realized I had never transitioned to slow flight!
So much to learn.