How I photographed high school football from an airplane

_MG_6928Today’s the start of the 2016 high school football season, so I thought I’d post about the most unusual way I’ve shot high school football: from a Cessna.

Michele Dunaway, journalism and yearbook advisor at Francis Howell, asked me to photograph the new football stadium and school from the air in 2013. A parent of a student in her class – and a parent of someone I went to school with – flew for American Airlines and had access to a plane. He was willing to take us up.

That evening, Oct. 18, 2013, we took off from Creve Coeur Airport a little after 7 p.m. and flew over to Francis Howell along 364/94.

The pilot circled the field a few times and I was able to open the window and point the lens outside. By the time we arrived it was completely dark, so I had to use a high ISO and hope for the best.

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After I was done, we flew over Chesterfield valley and then back up to Creve Coeur and landed. The flight was about 30 minutes long based off the photo timestamps.

In searching the tail number while writing this, I discovered the plane I went up in – N62475 – crashed in January 2015 after losing engine power, according to the Aviation Safety Network. Both the pilot and student lived.

I searched for an official crash report to connect the Post-Dispatch story to the ASN page and plane, but was unable to find one.

Published by Michael Gulledge

Software developer and freelance photojournalist based in St. Louis.

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