Seeing is the essence of photography, and I saw some new places and saw again familiar places from a totally new vantage point, aerial perspective. One summer day in 2006, Barry, a friend of mine, an old pilot who got the itch to fly again, invited me to go with him to Martha’s Vineyard on a chartered plane. We boarded a Cesna with a retractable gear around 1:00 PM on a Friday afternoon and my friend controlled the plane very well from taxiing to landing. Ah, lest you might think that I must be out of my mind to fly with a guy who has not flown in 25 years, we had an instructor with us, just in case.
The flight to the Vineyard was very smooth and comfortable and I tried to get a feel for aerial photography. Although the front seats had windows that could be opened, I was sitting in the back and had to shoot from behind the glass. The weather was not the greatest with much haze and I was getting a little disappointed. We landed in about 35 minutes or so and Barry did a fine job landing the plane. Maybe it is like riding a bike, once you learn the basic skills you never forget.
We made our way to the small restaurant at the airport and ordered salads and Barry and the flight instructor started talking about planes, flying and other airborne subjects. Suddenly, Barry said “look who’s coming, look, look!” I turned around and there they were, Walter Cronkite and Andy Rooney with their wives. They sat at the table next to us and Barry kept asking me to shoot from the hip, under the table and get some pictures of them. I told them I would not do paparazzi style photography but could not resist the temptation of asking them if I could take a couple of photographs as we walked out of the restaurant. Cronkite said, in his typical deep voice “that’s fine by me” and I snapped the photograph, turned around and photographed Andy Rooney. I am grateful for his agreeing to have their pictures taken, the man I saw on TV so many times became a real person, a kind and gentle one at that. Andy Rooney, well he was his usual self, probably did not care much about my taking the photographs, did not look at me, but did not object either.
Thank you both guys.