Skydiving photography, freefall photographer, skydive stunts, photos, motion picture cameras, helmet mounted cameras.
Zack Hoffman, Troy Hartman, and Tanya Garcia were the subjects of this photo shoot. American Eagle Outfitters called me to shoot stills of skydivers doing cool things in their clothing. They liked the backdrop at Perris Valley and wanted to find skydivers there at around the 20 year old range.
For this project, I shot two 35mm still cameras simultaneously to capture as many images as possible on each skydive. Camera #1 was a Nikon with a 14mm fisheye lens, and camera #2 was a Minolta with a 28mm standard wide angle lens. In addition, I carried a 16mm motion picture camera to capture slow motion shots of the action as well as a digital video camera to view each jump after landing to check framing and so on. In all, I carried four cameras rigged to wires that went up my arm under my jumpsuit to finger mounted switches that controlled each camera.
For Zack's jumps, I rolled the 16mm camera just as he began peddling toward the back door of the skyvan. As he'd roll out the door, I pressed and held both still camera switches and let the 35mm still cameras crank out frames. There would be only five or ten seconds shooting time once we left the aircraft because bikes tend to tumble aggressively and throw their riders. Also, to accurately drop the bikes without bombing someone's home, we jumped at a relatively low altitude. This made it easier to pinpoint the impact area. To help Zack stay with the bikes, we added about 100 pounds of lead buckshot to the inside of the frame and tires.
Zack blasted from the back of the skyvan and tumbled forward a couple times. He held on long enough for me to shoot a bunch of stills, but on the first jump, I timed my exit a bit too early and by the time the rear wheel of the bike left the airplane, we were already ten feet away from each other and separating quickly. On the second jump, I timed the exit a little better. On the third jump, I rolled off the tailgate with Zack at my side and fired off the shots I'd been hoping for. Zack tumbled slowly over the front bars while keeping an eye on me, then he held for about fifteen seconds before releasing the bike. We had our stills in the can.
Filming Troy and Tanya was straight forward because we exited from 12,500 feet (over two miles up). They exited together and held hands, occasionally giving each other a kiss in freefall. They flew very well together setting up easy shots for me. We landed with great images on every jump. The 16mm film was developed and transferred - If the images are good, I will post a clip or two on this page. Wanna know more about American Eagle Outfitters? ae-outfitters.com jj