Way back in January, January 24th to be exact, I was scheduled to fly out of Dulles International for a flight to Miami and then onto Panama City, Panama, to shoot a portrait and series of aerials for a Forbes magazine story.
Of course, the weather gods had a different plan in mind. The east coast was walloped by a blizzard that closed airports from the deep south to New England. Hundreds of flights were cancelled.
Big problem for me. The person I was photographing in Panama, was only going to be there for one day, had flown in from London for the shoot, and oh, by the way, is also one of the richest men in Columbia.
So, through a long chain of emails and phone calls, Dan Alexander, the writer for this story, managed to snag a ride on a private aircraft headed to Florida. I was able to hitchhike a seat on that flight. The pilots arranged toland at BWI to pick me up on the way to Florida. BWI opened, closed and then opened, all in the course of three hours on Sunday afternoon. My only problem was getting from Alexandria to BWI via uncleared roads. I own (and love dearly) a 4×4 Toyota pick-up that can pretty much smash its way through snow up to a couple of feet deep. I arrived at Signature Air at BWI with hours to spare.
The aircraft with the writer was in Teterboro and their clearance kept changing. At one point, they were told that BWI would not open and they would not be given permission to land.
The very kind people at Signature Air started making calls to the powers that be in order to gain permission for the flight to land. They explained that the runway and taxi area were clear and they were open for business. Somehow, everything aligned, and by early evening I was headed to South Florida. I ended up in Panama City around 1:30 in the morning on Monday. Our call time was 7:00.
My assignment was to shoot aerials of Panama Pacifico, the largest real estate development in the world, and, to shoot a possible cover image of Mr. Galinski.
We landed at the Panama Pacifico airport after an hour of flying. I set-up a portable studio and waited for Mr. Galinski to return from a meeting. I shot quite a few frames and variations and the one the magazine chose was combined with an aerial of the Panama Canal and illustrated by Sean McCabe.
Many thanks to Robyn Selman, Gail Toivanen and Dan Alexander from Forbes Magazine for a wonderful assignment. Extra special thanks for Jaime and Gabriel Galinski.
Panama Pacifico web site: http://www.panamapacifico.com/english/