At our pre-production meeting, John of Air Juan suggested we rig me to one of the floaters outside the plane so I could get my cover shot. Everyone from GRID seriously nodded their heads, and I didn’t want to fail anyone by pointing out that this was dangerous. I rationalized that if they suggested it, then it must have worked before. (Note: I am not an easy flyer. I am also afraid of heights—this assignment came by me because I was absent for the meeting and the other photographers got their pick.)
It wasn’t until a week or two later that the team realized that John was kidding. They’ve never strapped a guy to the exterior of a plane before. I was going to be inside the plane, but they were going to open the rear door mid-flight, at a certain altitude, so I would have an unimpeded view of the other plane, or the islands.
Come shoot day, we still weren’t sure how much time we would have, or if the second plane would be available for the mid-air plane-to-plane shot. Finally, John arrived, rushed us on the plane; we’d have to meet the other plane mid-air. While we were strapping in, I noticed that the rear seat was facing backwards. I was going to sit on that, right beside the rear door that they would open later on. To be honest, I didn’t have a lot of time to freak out. Before I knew it, we were airborne, thousands of feet above the sea, rendezvousing with the other plane over the North Palawan island group.
Air-to-air photographs by Miguel Nacianceno