Now, over several shoots, I seem to be acquiring a great many aerial pictures of this one island: Martha's Vineyard. Why? Well, I suppose partly because I am already there but more importantly it is still surprising and I am still learning from it. Perhaps this is the way I can make pictures that are good and satisfy from the island. I know that shooting on the ground here is much more difficult for me.
Gyro battery charged? Check. Camera battery charged? Check. Camera set for shutter priority and 1/1600 of a second? Check. ISO set? Check. VR off on lens? Check. Card empty? Check.
This is part of the mental checklist I go through when getting ready to shoot aerials, which I did this morning at 8 am. On one of the hottest May thirty-firsts I can remember we took off from the Katama Airfield on a grass strip in a Cessna 172 on Martha's Vineyard. Sliding up the South Shore I shot from the inland looking out towards the ocean:
Then, as we flew farther up island, we turned inland near Herring Creek and I made some exposures with no ocean in the frame:
The ponds on the island are everywhere, mostly small but some quite large.
Then we turned and made two runs from the cliffs at Gay Head down the beach from Philbin on down to Squibnocket. This is where, as teenagers, we would have beach parties, sometimes sitting around camp fires to keep warm. In those days you could get a Jeep in there, if you knew where to turn off the paved road. This is the region we called Zack's Cliffs and it was where the biggest dunes on the island were and still are. Much of it is Kennedy/Onassis land now.
This is an area of such sublime beauty it is difficult to comprehend. It is where my job is hugely simple: to just keep it together, to point the camera as we slide by, to click the shutter at the right moment but not to intrude myself into the picture at all, just let what is there 800 feet below me get taken in by the lens, absorbed by the sensor and held as a still picture to look at later, to have, to hold, to keep and to use as a way to be brought back to this transcendent slice of time, hovering over these dunes, this water, this beach and this land. Perfect.
Next up? Once Again Part 2, of course.