I am very happy to live in Anchorage, Alaska and think it’s one of those very special places to live in the U.S.A. Even when I first moved here in 1978 I felt it has always been a big enough city to have most all the comforts I want (Though I think I could use an In–N–Out Burger … but we do have WeeBee’s) and yet the wilderness and adventures that I SO love are right out the back door. Anchorage is a unique melting pot of people and there is a variety of interests we all seem to have. I have been on a mission as of late to creatively photograph as much of the variety of places and activities we do as I can—— hoping to culminate the images into an iconic annual calendar or some such. One of Anchorage’s claim to fame is the Lake Hood Seaplane base. It is the busiest seaplane base in the world with an average of 190 flights a day! So I thought, what would make a creative and iconic image of this cool place. I’ve seen a huge variety through the years. I thought that if I could photograph a plane either on approach, landing or taking off from the lake, side by side from another plane, that would look cool. I floated the idea by two pilot friends, Sam Maxwell and Bill Kramer. They were both game for the idea. It’s not the first time they “modeled” for my photography.
We’ve been planning this for over a month; waiting for the right weather, when we were all three available and an evening when there was not much aviation traffic. This past Monday night, it all lined up. Sam flew the Supercub plane on floats and Bill flew me in a Robinson R-44 helicopter, which would make my shooting that much easier and effective. We had the door off my side of the helicopter and I used two Canon 5D Mark III bodies. One with a 70-200mm and the other with a 24-105mm which I used 80% of the time. Bill would speed up, slow down, go higher or lower as I asked which allowed me to get what I thought were the best angles. The Lake Hood tower was most accommodating for allowing us to make quite a few passes over the lake. I owe them for that one. And I’m most thankful for Bill and Sam and other friends always being willing to accommodate my photography whims. Here are 5 of my favorite images from the shoot. Here’s hoping they have captured an iconic part of Anchorage, Alaska and Vicinity.