San Juan and Colorado rivers. Utah, USA
In the fall of 2006 I made the first in my life sphere of this place shot from the helicopter, and then I could join its parts in the computer.
To realize shooting, the helicopter must hover in the air and turn precisely round its axis. When the weather is windy, altitude above the ground isn''t high or the helicopter is loaded much, it''s very difficult to realize such a maneuver and the pilots begin to worry.
When the first approach, the strong wind began to blow during the shooting and when it was nearly a half of turnover our pilot Maria couldn''t hold the helicopter and it began to tumble down during the spinning. As a result, we had to stop and go for another approach. When the second approach, though the wind didn''t abated, thanks to some miracle and Maria''s experience and skills we could finish the shooting. Maria wiped her wet forehead and said "Never again" that means "Never, never again I will do this". And then, in the evening, she added "even when I passed the exams to become a pilot, I hadn''t to work with such difficulties".
When at home, in Moscow, when the sphere''s composing had been finished, Andrey and I saw that we didn''t "milled the wind", because the place I flew over is very beautiful and the sphere came out interesting. It became clear, that it''s possible to shoot the spheres not only from the ground with a tripod, as it usually happens according to the classical canons, but also being in the air.
And my first but not successful attempt to shoot the sphere from the helicopter I realized in Botswana, in the delta of the Okavango River, in 2005. By the way, the Okavango River is interesting for its flow which is through all the territory of South Africa but doesn''t fall into anywhere and disappears completely in sands. That time, in Botswana, I was so long explaining to the pilot what it was needed to do in the air and, finally, the sphere was shot. But we couldn''t combine it as much as we tried to do it in far 2005.
Now, as several years have passed, when I shot a few hundreds of spherical panoramas from the helicopter, to satisfy my curiosity I''ve decided to understand why I couldn''t combine that first sphere from Botswana. Unfortunately, I couldn''t join it this time too. But it became clear, that leaning out of the helicopter during the shooting, either from fear or from misunderstanding I was just holding the camera by another side :)
Photo and text by Oleg Gaponyuk
Date of shooting: autumn 2006