Thursday, September 27, 2012

And sometimes it is pure luck!

So a couple of post ago I wrote about:

Sometimes it's luck with a little knowledge, other times...

This time I am writing about it being pure luck. I have the fortune of living in Tucson, AZ. This is the home of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Commander Mark Kelly. As you may know, the Commander was the Flight Commander of the very last flight of the space shuttle Endeavor. Actually, he was the Commander of the very last mission of the shuttle program altogether. His wife, Gabrielle, well, she put Tucson on the map in a very unfortunate way as we all should know. But she is a strong woman and has beat the odds on every front. Fantastic!

In any case, as these two very prominent individuals are local residents, it was arranged for the carrier (a big and bad customized 747 jet) along with Endeavor on board, to fly over our little city in honor of both of these individuals. Very nice! This would also be the very last flight Endeavor will ever make before it finds its final home in California in a museum. We were forewarned that this flight would come in low at approximately 1500 ft and fly over the University of Arizona Campus at 11:15 am on Sept 20th, 2012. So it did. Now that is a nice story isn't it? But it gets better...

I was actually aware of this event and prepped my cameras. I was also engaged with a plumber at the time on my house's roof as they were flushing (power jetting) all of my drains via the roof vents. So there I am on my roof keeping lookout for this big, bad and gigantic piggyback loaded 747. We all suspected it would come from the east so of course that is where I looked. Then out of the corner of my eye I spotted the beast coming in the military flight path from the south east (over the I-10 freeway). Actually quite a way from me and not a good shot as it was pretty hazy and my lens wouldn't have reached for anything of value. Bummer. 

So I figured I would see if I could track the sucker for a few moments thinking he was headed straight over Davis Monthan AFB and then over the campus as planned. I basically conceded to the fact that I would miss this once and never again in a lifetime event. Double bummer. 

Then all of a sudden I hear this roaring noise coming from the south... I couldn't see anything as the big tree in my front yard was in the way. I grabbed the cameras just in case... and good thing I did....

In slow motion:

The tail:

Real time with sound:

These are now available at Stock Video by vadervideo at Pond5: The World's Stock Footage Marketplace

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sometimes it's luck with a little knowledge, other times...

They say luck or being lucky can happen. I think not. I believe in luck for sure, but luck is something one creates based on prior experience. And here is what I mean by that...

This summer (2012) we decided to go on a trip through northern Arizona all the way up to Colorado. Knowing it was monsoon season, I expected to see some pretty amazing stuff as this is one of my favorite subjects to shoot. Yes, storms with neat cloud patterns and of course lightning. But this time I had a sidekick along that wanted to learn how this is done. My son decided that taking photographs is a pretty cool hobby. So we jumped at any opportunity to shoot footage or get some neat shots. Cameras were always locked and loaded so to speak. That part had nothing to do with luck... that was the experience side. We always checked in on the local radar as well using our latest technology... my smartphone. Again knowledge, not luck. However, when it comes to weather, one can only hope that the storm patterns are on one's side. It also helps if there is a good road to drive on to stay ahead of such an event. This may be the luck part. Well in July of 2012 this all came together in one of the most famous and historical places in the west - Monument Valley. We shot. We conquered. The final result yielded some really nice footage (simply mouse over to see the clips, click on one to purchase):

The bottom line: If you want to capture nature at its finest, pay attention to it and study it. Learn to use the tools at hand and leverage technology. Who knows? You might just get lucky.