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Every year as the dog days of summer begin to give up their ghosts, I always look forward to the aerial season.  Year after year as the red and yellow leaves pop around New England, we take to the skies to shoot industrial complexes, quads, and campuses.

After some real crappy weather, we finally got a chance to get up in the air and shoot in earnest.  Right on the cusp and almost missing the peak, last week we finished up some really nice flying and put some gorgeous aerial work in the can.

Even as the chill wears off from door-off heli flying, I look forward to perhaps one last late December “first snow” flight.  As always, thanks to Stephen at Blue Hill Helicopters for getting us back on the ground safe and sound!


Have been doing a lot of aerial work lately and its been awesome!  Perfect weather, perfect ambient temps, doors off the helicopter… What more can one ask for!

Thanks to Killian and Blue Hill Helicopters for keeping us safe!


Well it’s spring again here in Boston, and this usually means the aerial season has begun.  Last Thursday we launched for a late afternoon photo flight over the City of Boston.  If you are familiar with the blog, you will know that it involves some kind of air vehicle, you will have a damn hard time keeping us out of it.

As usual, we flew with Blue Hill Helicopters out of Norwood Airport.  Because the shoot was a fairly simple shoot (just photography and no cinema work) and I did not need to have the client along, I chose to fly the Schweizer 300C.  This is a small two place piston driven helicopter with a great safety record.  Besides being a nice platform for aerial work, the operational cost is very reasonable compared to something like a Bell Jet Ranger, or a Europcopter A Star which is very attractive to clients.  It’s a great way to provide aerial work without breaking the budget.


The photo mission took us inbound on the “Quarry” route, around the city counter clock-wise, and then out on the “Fenway” route(click here to see a cool map of the Boston helicopter routes)

Landmarks on the list included the harbor, Fenway Park, the Zakim Bridge, and the Charles River skyline.

Boston Logan was landing on Rwy 4, which made it a bit tricky as we had to stay under 300′ for a bunch of the shooting.  (In a nutshell this means that we had to fly under the commercial airliners that were landing.)

In the end, we spent about 45 min on station and got some great images.

Here is another Behind the Scenes film just off the presses… We added the end of last years aerial footage to the end of this film so it flows a bit better.


We’ve been doing quite a bit of helicopter work around the country.  It really is one of my favorite things to get to do in this job.  Sometimes it’s downright scary, but when you have the right pilot, the experience really can be amazing.

When we are local, we pretty much always fly with my buddy Steven Boatwright’s outfit Blue Hill Helicopters. Blue Hill Helicopters has several Schweizer 300’s, as well as a Robinson R44.  These are a much different platform to work from than say a Jet Ranger or a TwinStar, but have their unique advantages.  (If you want to read a bit more about a what goes into a photo flight, or why we choose a particular aircraft, this is a good blog post.)

Above is a short “Behind the Scenes” film from one of our heli-adventures from the fall with Blue Hill Helicopters.

Rabbit and I after a great day with Blue Hill

Lots going here… too much really to sit down to write about now save today’s high.

We spent the afternoon doing what we do best……  Hanging out of a helicopter.  Thanks to our good friend Steve of Blue Hill Helicopters for pushing the envelope once again and getting us back safely.


We tend to do a lot of aerial photography, and one of the resources we use in the preparation for a shoot is ATIS or Automatic Terminal Information Service.

ATIS is a continuous recorded broadcast of important information used by pilots to help operate their aircraft.  The most important bit of info that we need to know is the actual weather at the airfield.  Cloud ceiling, wind direction, and wind speed will all play a part on how are shoot goes.

Lots of airports these days have a telephone number you can call into in order to listen to the broadcast, and every morning before we fly, we call in and give a listen.

This gives us a heads up on the exact conditions at the airport where you will be operating from.  If you have not done a lot of flying, you may or may not realize that different airports may have drastically different weather.  Sometimes they can be very close together, but be totally different.

Read the rest of this entry »

Last month I shot some aerial footage (video and stills) for a Boston client. The client was watching the budget but wanted to get some great footage of the area in order to use as “B” roll in some films we are doing for them.

This meant we couldn’t hire a larger helicopter like a Bell 206 or have a Tyler Mount (gyro.)

The weather that day was great for the pictures, however it was pretty windy. The long and the short is we ended up flying, but the footage was shaky due to the wind.

The following clip illustrates how we were able to mitigate the shake in post production.

Thanks BTW to our friends at Blue Hill Helicopters (as usual) for the flight support

Back up in the air today, and boy was it frickin chilly!  No matter… helicopter work has to be one of the most exhilarating aspects of my business, and I am always game regardless of the air temp!

Today’s shoot was for a local Cambridge client.  We were primarily focusing on shooting video “B” roll of the Greater Boston area.  This footage will be used along with video interviews and lab “B” roll in order to give the feeling of their environment.

When I shoot here in Boston, I like to use my friend Stephen Boatwright’s outfit called Blue Hill Helicopter based out of Norwood, MA.  Blue Hill owns a couple of Schweizers, and today as we were going to be up in the air for a while, flew their C model.

prepping gear

prepping gear

The Schweizer 300C is not the perfect platform to shoot from.  It is small, slow, bumpy, cramped, and a bit scary… but what makes it so damn appealing for a photographer is that it is very inexpensive to fly.  The biggest reason for this is that the 300C is a piston driven helicopter, where the Bell 206 Jet Ranger or Eurocopter AS350 is a turbine and are dramatically more sophisticated machines.  All three are single engine airplanes, however both the Bell 206 and the AS350 can carry much more load (4+ people vs/ the 2 in the 300C) fly farther, and are more stable. Read the rest of this entry »

Last week we began to prepare for a shoot we are doing on Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers.

Richard getting excited around the Blackhawk

Richard getting excited around the Blackhawk

We will be shooting the swimmers over several days and covering them in all aspects of their work. In order for us to do the aerial component and work in the helicopters over the ocean, the Coast Guard is requiring us to complete some special training… and any time the military wants to give us some training, we are more than happy to oblige!

Discussing flight ops

Discussing flight ops

Our day (as usual) began well before sunup. Richard and I met our friend Petty Officer Luke Pinneo from the Coast Guard public affairs office and headed south to Air Station Cape Cod located on the Mass Military Reservation at old Otis Air Force Base.  I have mentioned Luke before. Luke and I met when I taught down at DINFOS. Luke is talented photographer in his own right, and he has been great to work with on this project. Read the rest of this entry »


March 2019
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