Last fall, I got a call from Men’s Fitness magazine to shoot the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department helicopter search and rescue squad known as Henry 1. I have been holding these photos under my hat for months and now that the article is out I thought I’d put up an extended web gallery of images from this assignment.
I have to say that this assignment was one of the most fun and exciting assignments I have had in the last year. How often do you get to go fly around with an elite helicopter rescue unit for two full days and have them tell you “whatever you want to do you just let us know.” I probably won’t have that ever happen again. And I have to say everyone that works on the Henry 1 squad was a rockstar. They know they have one of the coolest jobs on the planet.
Though the assignment was only two days it felt like a week’s worth of helicopter time. We were flying all over the place answering calls and in between shooting training exercises on cliff bands, in the ocean and everywhere in between. I am sure some of the stunts the pilots were executing were quite a bit more dangerous than I knew. At one point Paul Bradley, the pilot with us on the first day of my assignment, slotted the chopper into a hillside with trees above the whirling blades and trees on either side only a few feet away. The next day I was hanging a hundred feet below the chopper to shoot a mock rescue. So as you can tell, this wasn’t much different than every kids fantasy: to fly in a chopper with pilots who can pretty much do anything! One of the most amazing aspects of this assignment for me was just to see how they work and how incredible their pilots are. When they take off there is no “scenic cruise” mentality. You get about a foot or two off the ground and you are out of there. They turn on a dime and lay that puppy sideways when they need to as you can see in a few of the images.
You can check out the web gallery with some of the out takes from this assignment on my website here. And finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t say a huge thank you to Lisa Elin at Men’s Fitness and the entire Henry 1 crew for being so acomadating and friendly – I had a spectacular time ripping around northern California with you guys!