What an amazing week! A week of new experiences and perspectives, beautiful scenery, lots of people, places, and music. Here's the beginning of the story:
I have never been in a small plane like a Cessna, and I've always wanted to. (I rode in a private jet as a teenager with some very generous family friends, but that's just like a smaller commercial plane.) And secretly, I'm an adrenaline junky. That slightly unsettled feeling in my stomach before I'm about to do something dangerous is quite the thrill. I think I get that from my mom. She pretends to be cautious and careful, but she broke her tibia and fibia in half skiing, broke a rib Kite surfing, and I've even seen her start wake boarding from a dock, pulled into the water, then bring herself closer to the boat and continue wake surfing. Adventure!
Anyway, when I was asked if I'd be interested to go to Denver for an aerial shoot, I was speechless from excitement. Giddy, even. There were not words to describe how I felt. Maybe "wahooooo!" haha.
So part 1. The drive from Salt Lake to Denver with two amazing people and some pretty incredible views. I forgot to take pictures this day (I think it was because I was still wearing my pajamas, but I wouldn't have been in the photos anyway!) Oh well. The couple I was staying with for the weekend took us to a very tasty Korean restaurant. Another first for me! Then I had the pleasure of listening to the band In-2-Wishin. These guys were really good! Just one new thing after another. Woke up the next morning and headed to the airport for the flight. I was rather quiet all day because, well, as much as I hate to admit it, I was actually getting nervous. The shoot was set up to have two pilots and a photographer in each plane shooting the other plane. Both pilots have had their licenses for about 10 years, one flies commercially, and the other is an instructor with the flight school. So I knew I was in good hands, but I was still getting a little nervous...
Here was our plane:
I was sitting in the airport awkwardly trying not to think about being nervous, so when people started taking pictures, I had to prove that I was excited. Here's my "oh wow, I get to go on a plane" face:
Then things actually got scary. We'd been sitting in the airport waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive and watching other planes take off and land. And several of them were having some trouble. The wings were wobbling and a few of them couldn't land, so they went back up into the air. Wind speeds were insane!!! We walked out to the plane and watched the parked plane move left and right. Ummmm.... yeah. I'm very grateful everyone wanted to be safe, so after 3 hours or so of waiting for winds to slow, we postponed the shoot to day 2. And of course, an hour later, the winds did drop. So before we took the plane back to the hanger, we decided to take the plane up for a quick flight, not flying in formation, not for the shoot, just for the experience. And what an experience it was. There is no feeling in the world that matches what it feels like to fly. I was singing and smiling and laughing and giggling... what a thrill!
I'm in awe of the mechanics of the plane itself and how far we as humans have developed to just hop in a metal thing with wings and take it up in the air. And the skill it takes to fly it! Shane (the pilot) had me do a flight simulator on the computer after the flight and as my fake plane landed in LAX, I almost crashed and it spun around in an amazing 180. I didn't crash it, but I ended up on the grass. The fake passengers walked away alive, but in their fake world I'm sure many of them would never get in a plane again... Let's just say everyone was grateful I wasn't the one to land the real plane!
Here's Shane in full concentration, just after take off:
And a few other favorites from the short trip:
With the photo above I learned that every pilot needs two things to be identified as a pilot - aviators and an awesome watch. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty cool with both of them... There's also the pilot's hat, but that didn't show up until the next day.
So thank you Shane for making my day! And for being safe when the winds were a little too crazy :)
Look for part 2 with the actual photo shoot tomorrow!