How Corporate Aviation Photographers Get Their Amazing Shots
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Losito is a longtime Air Canada employee, having started at the Montreal-based carrier in 1987. He started in the dark room, assembling 35mm slides for corporate and training presentations at the Canadian airline. Five years into the gig, his boss retired and he was offered the job as company photog. “I thought I would try it out for a few years,” he said. Losito has documented all of Air Canada’s recent liveries, ranging from the classic red with burgundy stripe, to the “toothpaste” green livery of the early 2000s, all the way to the beautiful new one shown on the Boeing 787 above.
“Air-to-air photography is exhilarating. And not many photographers get to do it,” Losito said.
How Do They Shoot?
Slattery said he shoots out of the windows of the aircraft, camera in hand, most of the time. “We keep the front windows on each side of the Learjet cabin clean and polished to maintain optical clarity.” The other photos come from the underwing camera, which is a modified “bomb” with the rear removed, attached to a military-style pylon underneath the left wing. “A three-axis gimbal sits inside the pod, enclosing a Canon 5DS stills camera equipped with a 24-105mm zoom lens,” Slattery explained. “A tiny witness camera feeds what the camera sees to a console-mounted monitor that I use while we’re flying. I remotely aim the camera at the target plane with a joystick, frame the zoom lens using a toggle, and then punch a button to trip the shutter — all in real time.”
Learjet or Helicopter?
Photographers will also use a helicopter with the doors off. “The helicopter is equal parts a dolly, tripod, and snorkel lift,” Slattery said. “It is ideal for photographing aircraft on the ground as they taxi, turn, position, launch, and recover.”
Some Advice for the Instagram Set
Unusual for many photographers, Slattery does not maintain an Instagram account. You’ve likely seen his work in an ad, but may not have known who was behind the lens.
And that’s fine by him.
“The Instagram audience is not an audience I need to reach. And many of my clients want to keep a close hold on photography,” he said.
Losito maintains a beautiful feed of Air Canada and vintage aircraft and shots of the people that make the Star Alliance carrier tick.
Then there’s the quote from famed photographer Richard Avedon: “The final photograph is both accurate and untrue.” It’s a key theme for Slattery, who goes as far as to include it in his email signature.
With these stunning shots, there’s no real need to apologize. Keep your eyes peeled for Slattery or Losito’s work in your travels. And, if you’re around Everett, Washington, or Vancouver, British Columbia, look for a Boeing chasing a Learjet.
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