Back in March, I shot ground-based interiors and exteriors for this client – it’s an amazing house set on 28 acres of property near Skyline Blvd. in Portola Valley. Of course the only way to get a shot of the whole property at once is from the air! I met with Cameron Rolfe, the owner of Bay Helicoptours, at 12pm sharp at the San Carlos Airport. While he was checking up on his flying roto-beast, I was getting my “basic” gear ready. Since the helicopter sports one bench seat for the two of us, and the fact that my side has a “missing” door, I had to K.I.S.S. with my stuff. I had my Nikon D300 paired with my 70-200/2.8 for the long-range closeups, the Nikon D3 with my trusty 28-70/2.8 and my Nikon D700 with my buddy’s ultra-wide 14-24/2.8 (which I ended up not really needing).
Because Villa Lauriston is way off the beaten path, my main concern was finding the place. Luckily we were flying low enough to get cell signal – so my trusty Apple iPad with Google maps led the way – which is a good thing because we initially overshot, so I was able to lead the “blue dot” back to the intended destination. Once successfully over the property, we circled around it at varying altitudes. We couldn’t slow down to less than about 40mph, probably because the winds coming over skyline would make us unstable, so it was more challenging than I expected to shoot. It was more like a series of fly-bys and pray-you-got-the-shot than carefully aligned compositions. The many tall trees prevented us from getting as low as I’d have liked, but I still think I got a great variety of photos of the beautiful property. My favorites are below, check out all the photos over here.