Ever since I got a Polaroid Impulse camera I had the idea to take air to air polaroids. I never got to it because of several reasons.
I can’t hang out the back of a Skyvan shooting polaroids because theres always a chance that the polaroid goes flying out. It’s also not practical to have a bulky, plastic polaroid in the chaos of a photoflight. I usually already have two digital bodies on me which is the maximum amount of cameras we allow during a photoflight. A third reason is because the Impulse always shoots with flash. So even when I’m in the cockpit it’s not an option to shoot through the window.
Last May however, I bought a Polaroid Land camera which comes without the built in flash and this summer I finally started my air to air polaroid series. It’s still a hassle to get it done because when the plane is on the side window it’s usually only there for a couple of minutes. I have to deliver the photos so I need to get all possible shots and can’t afford to miss one because I’m busy with the Polaroid camera. Still, during several flights I had the time and found the subject interesting enough to quickly snap a photo.
In the video below you can see it takes up to 20 seconds to take the picture and in that time the plane has move from a close position to a wide formation. You can miss a shot in a blink of an eye.
As you can see it’s hard to get a well exposed and sharp picture, but so far most have come out quite decent (These scans don’t do them much justice.). Since a month I also have a Polaroid SX-70 that has manual focus so it allows to take much sharper photos than with the Land camera and the overall quality is much better. On the other hand it takes more time to manually focus. So I’ll have to figure out next season if the SX-70 is any good for this, but I do plan to make this a bigger series. It’s fun to have something tangible immediately after the flight. The digital files are fantastic, but they’re still digital and I don’t nearly print enough of my photos anyway.
Below you can find some other aviation related Polaroids.
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