Photographing Skydivers: Be Ready for Anything

A little while back, I was working for a small local newspaper outside of Houston, Texas. I was working on a series about adrenaline junkies around the area. One article I really wanted to write was about skydiving at Spaceland Houston.

Its one of the larger skydiving places in Texas. I had skydived there before, and I knew people would love to see what it’s really like. And as a photographer, I really wanted to shoot it.

It was a small newspaper I was writing for, so honestly, I didn’t expect to get a response from Spaceland Houston. A few days after I emailed them, they replied and said to come on out. They asked me what kind of shots I needed and what information I need. Before this, I had never shot skydivers before, so I wasn’t even sure what to ask for. But I have learned as a photographer that the most people can do is say no.

I told them I wanted to go up in the plane for two jumps, one of me sitting in the co-pilot seat of the plane as they took off. And the next jump to sit on the edge of the door and take photos as they jumped out. To my surprise, they said yes.

Showing up to this place was a bit intimidating, I had been there before but it was as a skydiver and not as a photographer/writer. I put on my best game face and acted like I had been there before. I have learned that locations like this have a certain type of person they attract. Relaxed hipster type people, wearing sandals and making loud jokes with each other in the hanger. At the same time, it’s a tense place where safety is top priority, this isn’t the type of place where you cut corners to get things done quicker.

Not even 15 minutes after arriving there, they loaded me into the plane. I couldn’t bring tons of gear with me, just one body and two lens. I grabbed my Canon 7D Mark II, my Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5, and a Canon 24-105mm f/4. This was the best combo that I had for this type of shoot. There was going to be plenty of light coming in and I needed that fast frame rate. I wanted some wide-angle shots from inside the cockpit as jumpers went out, at the time I didn’t have a wide-angle lens for my full frame, so this was the best combo.

As we took off, I started snapping away, the lighting was pretty consistent even though we were flying through clouds. I got plenty of shots as we took off and the old plane made for an excellent prop against the back drop of the clouds. I couldn’t have asked for better a situation.

Via : PetaPixel