University of Virginia life flight helicopter, known as Pegasus, waits on the rooftop hospital helipad while the medical crew escorts the patient into the emergency room over 10 stories below. As I was waiting on the helipad for the medical crew to return, I noticed how the green glow from the helipad lights illuminated the rotor blades and created a mood that contrasted with the warm light of the clouds reflecting the terrestrial illumination of Charlottesville VA. Originally I had planned to take a photo that captured the perspective of the crane towering over the helicopter and on this dreary night the lighting came together to set the mood of the scene.
Funeral gathering in a rural New Mexican cemetery. One of the most amazing aspects of being a pilot photographer is the rare moments when I am able to capture unexpected moments and brief glimpses of humanity from above. I took this photo on a flight between Taos and Albuquerque NM. The area is extremely rural and I was expecting to capture landscapes of canyons and mesas when I looked down and saw this funeral gathering below.
LifeFlight of Maine helicopter pilot Pete Cartmell lets the autopilot fly while preparing for an approach in inclement weather conditions. Pilots use checklists and charts to guide the aircraft through the clouds to a safe landing.
An Agusta A109 helicopter sits on the tarmac in Hot Springs AR. After a long day of flying, transporting this helicopter from Pittsburgh to Dallas, I had closed up the helicopter for the night. As I was carrying my bags inside, I turned back to see the sun setting and a small airplane taking off. The dynamic range of the Nikon D810 is perfect for capturing a foreground in low light while maintaining the depth of color in a sunset.
Looking up at the Agusta A109 tail rotor. Working around helicopters every day, sometimes it can be a challenge to capture a new angle or view of the aircraft. Every once and awhile I am able to step away from the literal and create a beautiful image such as this tail rotor looking up from below. I took this photo on a beautiful blue skied day, but instantly fell in love with the black and white version which I believe truly captures beauty in what I normally view as mere machinery.
Mi-24 Russian attack helicopter approaches from behind a line of trees, silhouetted by the setting sun. In March 2017 Dallas, TX hosted the world’s largest helicopter expo at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. I was fortunate enough to be invited to photograph as just over 60 helicopters were flown into land at the convention center loading docks to be displayed inside the trade show.
Another photo of the Mi-24 Hind Russian attack helicopter. This cold war era helicopter is an uncommon sight in the United States but down at Lancaster Airport, 20 miles south of Dallas, the Cold War Air Museum specializes in the restoration of Russian aircraft.
Maintenance personnel remove blades from a Black Hawk Helicopter. After the aircraft landed at the loading docks of the convention center in downtown Dallas, the aircraft were then towed inside the show room floor. Large aircraft such as the Black Hawk could not fit through the door unless several of the rotor blades were first removed. Teams of aircraft technicians were standing by as the helicopter landed to quickly remove the blades and then replace them once positioned inside the exhibit hall.
Blue skies and snow covered hills make for perfect aerial landscape photography on a January day in Maine. The foreground of the helicopter cockpit frames the beautiful landscape below.
Twin rotor CH-47 Chinook helicopter creates an extraordinary amount of down wash as it descends over the trees on final approach for landing. This aircraft is operated by Columbia helicopters and is used primarily for fighting forest fires. With a large water tank housed inside the fuselage, it hovers over lakes and ponds to take on fresh water and once positioned over areas of fire it opens a set of trap doors to release the water.
Pilot Dustin McElroy looks down as we pass over construction on the Tappan Zee Bridge crossing the Hudson River. When flying through New York City’s busy airspace, helicopter traffic is requested to fly low over the Hudson River to remain clear of airline traffic landing at the three international airports nearby. On this route, we pass just West of Manhattan at 500 ft over the water with magnificent sky scrapers glistening above us.
Mammatus storm clouds loom over the Albuquerque Airport. Fall in the high desert sees massive thunderstorms roll across the landscape in the early evenings. A lone corporate jet sat on the tarmac as the storm passed. Just as the rain stopped, I ran out onto the ramp to catch this photo in the few moments where the last of the sunlight illuminated the cumulus clouds above and the lights of the airport had just been turned on. My camera was on a tripod under shelter capturing a time lapse of the entire storm, so I quickly grabbed a friend’s Nikon D750 before scurrying out onto the wet pavement.
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