This was probably one of the biggest photographic challenges I’ve faced for a long time. The assignment to shoot a Boeing 777F as it landed, was turned around and departed.
On the face of it, pretty straight forward you’d think. The challenge to be that it was all happening at night, in a totally unknown situation and with unpredictable weather conditions.
The plane was due into Zaventem at 20:00-ish and leave again at midnight and there was one chance at getting it recorded. I could hardly ask the pilot to go around again. The whole setup was calculated as best as it could be, we were told where the plane would put it’s wheels down, where it would taxi to and where it would leave the runway on takeoff. I had to be at all the positions in time and ready. Luckily I was being escorted and driven around the airport by one of the ground crew who knew the place like the back of his hand.
Of course the weather was against us in a big way. Standing right next to a runway in horizontal driving rain wasn’t a lot of fun but we managed to keep rain off the front lens element and I pushed the gear as far as I technically could to catch everything the best I could, in what was effectively pitch darkness.
Not only did the client want the landing and takeoff photographed but they wanted a couple of dramatic ground shots to show off the aircraft. I took lighting and all sorts of contingency plans, just in case. I had no idea where aircraft would be until we arrived and were briefed. I was lucky, I didn’t need to use any lighting.
I’ve been allowed to share some of the shots so as you flick though, spare a thought for those ground handlers that stand out there night and day to make sure our parcels get to where they have to go on time.
This is the type of assignment I love. Walking into a situation of unknowns, minimising the risk and just going for it.
Big thanks to Frank for assisting that night too.