So there’s a rule for all journalists who work for the Gannett corporation: You’re only allowed to fly in a plane to cover a story if that story is a natural disaster.

So when I was assigned a story on world-famous aerobatic pilot Sean D. Tucker, I had to figure out how to get a shot of him flying without running afoul of the rules.

Now, I don’t mind bending the rules occasionally, but I had already been reprimanded in this job for going flying, and you can only plead ignorance once.

My solution was a couple Bogen Magic Arms, Super Clamps, a remote shutter release and a fisheye lens in the cockpit. Here’s the setup:

This was the first time I had ever mounted a camera in a cockpit, but Sean and his crewman Ian checked my work and approved. I told Sean to press the button as much as possible, especially when he felt the sun on his face — it was an easy task for him, a true professional who’s done this sort of thing before.

In the photo below, you can see the camera setup in front of Sean’s face:

I was a little nervous as Sean flew and I waited for my gear to return, but everything worked perfectly. The photo ran huge on our front page to accompany a feature on Sean and his flight school.

And I also shot a portrait:

  1. Where’d you shoot the portrait? Great lighting!


  2. Thanks! The portrait was shot in his hangar. Light source was a single softbox at camera left, plus ambient.

  3. Brilliant man! Maybe this is the future of Gannett journalism. Remote cameras. It would save on overhead. hah!! No but seriously, really inventive technique and amazing results!

  4. Love your work.SUCH Talent!

  5. Thanks, Debi!

Leave a reply