Aero C-104 captured by Z 6II / Z70-200f2.8 w/Z1.4x

The air-to-air photo mission is all about safety, the photograph is secondary at best. I only go up with photo ship pilots I trust and subject aircraft pilots that have “passed” the basic safety verbal quiz. But that’s not enough when flying with snow on the ground. As soon as you bring in that weather element, greater care and concern must be taken. The obvious is that the photographer has to be able to work in the cold. We’re talking Zero or colder with windchill. That will numb digits really fast making a simple thing like firing a camera hard. And holding that camera so it doesn’t fall out of the photo platform, is essential (why you always use a strap!).

The other consideration most don’t think about, perhaps because nobody wants to, is what if you go down during that photo mission and you’re stuck in that cold world you’re flying over? This is not a particularly strong photograph because the Bucker doesn’t really stand out from the background. Just think what it would be like looking for it down in those trees?! Those who I fly with have a winter survival kit in the aircraft just in case of that horrible reality. Beyond the clothing and gloves worn for the A2A, there is extra clothing, sleeping bags, food just in case. Never had to need that stuff and I want to keep it that way. There’s a lot that goes into an A2A photo mission, check lists are essential so you have it all. That’s why I also have a winter A2A checklist – it gets cold!

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