I was so looking forward to last week in Auckland. A wedding to shoot, a meeting with the writing team at Shortland Street, and a few hours shooting in the helicopter hangar at Whenuapai with my nephew the Naval Observer.
That's him in there, looking very much like The Stig. I should say I made him pose like this, he's not usually such glamourpuss.
But the day of my Shortland Street meeting, I had good reason to suspect I was coming down with a nasty case of shingles. I immediately found a doctor, convinced him my sister-in-law's wedding was important enough for me to need the anti viral meds justin case my fears were confirmed, and navigated via my google phone (I could do a whole blog entry about that wonderful little device) to the Shortland Street production offices. It was at this point that I noticed I had my basic camera kit with me, but not the stands and extra strobes I had planned to shoot Christiaan and his helo with. No time to dash back to the city, so it was onto the motorway and out to the airbase.
The Kaman SG 2H Sea Sprite is New Zealand's most sophisticated bit of flying hardware. Maverick Air to Surface missiles, homing torpedoes... it's got everything but a working cigarette lighter, and I'm sure the M60 machine gun could do a nice job of lighting up your stogie. My nephew, Sub Lt Christiaan Robertson is the airborne tactical officer. That means he's in charge of all this stuff, the rest of the Sea Sprite crew and their mission. You'd think he'd be all Joe Cool about this, and he'd have a right to be, but he really is the nicest - well it's still hard to think of him as anything but a big kid.
Anyhow, after bitching about leaving 3 flashes, my 2m stand, umbrella and tripod behind, I sucked it up and told myself that if the pros can make do with just 2 strobes, so could I. Hell, I hear some of them even get by with natural light. So we got to work.
It was a blast catching up with Christiaan, and we only just scratched the surface of what I'd like to do up there. But this was primarily a social visit, and the officers' mess called...
A couple of beers later, it was time to grab my Google phone and navigate my way back into the city. I'm indebted to my nephew and No. 6 Squadron, RNZAF Whenuapai for their time and access to their very cool hardware. Let's do it again Neph. I salute you!