DC-3: Work Horse
Since I was striving to create more than just a photograph of an airplane at night, it was important to at least try to capture the fuller [deeper?] essence of this scene. To me, this image represents the integrity of hard work, team effort and pride in a job well done.
The shooting itself took about nine hours from the time I arrived to my departure that night. Over 700 individual frames were exposed of all the separate pieces you see in the shot After the principal photography, I spent over 50 hours on the computer re-combining all those individual exposed frames into this single final image.
If you look closely, you can see deep dents and gouges on the fuselage skin, just to the left of the propeller tips. Jad, the pilot, told me those are from ice striking the fuselage. As the plane flies through “icing conditions” at altitude, the ice builds up on the structure, including the propeller. Eventually, when the buildup is too great, the ice is flung off with such force, it strikes the fuselage just behind the pilot.
Finally, as a sort of nod to the aviators of yesteryear, I had Jad strike a classic pose. Even though the plane is totally surrounded by a fuel truck, cargo, and a mechanic repairing an engine, the pilot is leaning out from the cockpit, arm resting on the fuselage, looking forward into the distance. As a kid growing up, I remember seeing so many of those classic black-and-white shots of a DC-3 pilot leaning out from a gleaming new aircraft, inevitably looking forward into the future.