San Juan and Colorado rivers, Utah#

by Oleg Gaponyuk, member of the AirPano Team that is a member of the global-geography Consortium.

Autumn 2006

with kind permission of AirPano

In the fall of 2006 I made the first in my life sphere of this place shot from the helicopter, and then I could join its parts in the computer.

To realize shooting, the helicopter must hover in the air and turn precisely round its axis. When the weather is windy, altitude above the ground isnt high or the helicopter is loaded much, its very difficult to realize such a maneuver and the pilots begin to worry.

When the first approach, the strong wind began to blow during the shooting and when it was nearly a half of turnover our pilot Maria couldnt hold the helicopter and it began to tumble down during the spinning. As a result, we had to stop and go for another approach. When the second approach, though the wind didnt abated, thanks to some miracle and Marias experience and skills we could finish the shooting. Maria wiped her wet forehead and said "Never again" that means "Never, never again I will do this". And then, in the evening, she added "even when I passed the exams to become a pilot, I hadnt to work with such difficulties".

When at home, in Moscow, when the spheres composing had been finished, Andrey and I saw that we didnt "milled the wind", because the place I flew over is very beautiful and the sphere came out interesting. It became clear, that its possible to shoot the spheres not only from the ground with a tripod, as it usually happens according to the classical canons, but also being in the air.

And my first but not successful attempt to shoot the sphere from the helicopter I realized in Botswana, in the delta of the Okavango River, in 2005. By the way, the Okavango River is interesting for its flow which is through all the territory of South Africa but doesnt fall into anywhere and disappears completely in sands. That time, in Botswana, I was so long explaining to the pilot what it was needed to do in the air and, finally, the sphere was shot. But we couldnt combine it as much as we tried to do it in far 2005.

Now, as several years have passed, when I shot a few hundreds of spherical panoramas from the helicopter, to satisfy my curiosity Ive decided to understand why I couldnt combine that first sphere from Botswana. Unfortunately, I couldnt join it this time too. But it became clear, that leaning out of the helicopter during the shooting, either from fear or from misunderstanding I was just holding the camera by another side :)

1 Panoramas of San Juan and Colorado rivers