Careful planning and timing enabled Meade to capture a perfect silo- framed photo of the helicopter.
Gene Meade usually carries his camera and phone when he hikes in the woods surrounding his home. It was on one such hike a few years ago that he came across an old barn and a silo. The silo's top was open and it was surrounded by bushes and trees. Intrigued, Meade made a photo from inside the silo looking up at the blue sky.
"I enjoyed the photo so much that I shared it on Facebook," says Meade. As a flight instructor, he then came up with an idea to make an even more interesting photo: He would get a former flight student to fly over the silo in an airplane so that the plane would be framed by the silo. He and his former student soon worked out the details, and one of the resulting photos ended up winning a contest in Carolina Country magazine.
Not too long later, Meade was chatting with another former flight student, Dr. Stephen Jones. Meade told Jones that he would like to do a similar photo shoot with a helicopter passing over the silo. Jones, who is a helicopter pilot, said he could make that happen the very next day.
And so it was that on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, Dr. Stephen Jones flew his helicopter precisely over the top of the remote open-topped silo. Meade had set his camera to shoot six frames per second, and his wife, Carol, kept watch with an aviation radio nearby so she could alert her husband when the helicopter drew near. The couple's son, Kelly Meade, videotaped the entire experience.
"As soon as Carol gave the signal, I pressed the trigger," says Gene Meade. "When you are inside a 30-foot high silo, you just don't have time to get a photo on your own. I was glad Carol was there to give me the signal."
After the flyover was complete, Jones told the Meade family that he would be landing at the Meades' house to view the photos on their big screen.
"We had never had a helicopter to land in our back yard, so we were very excited," said Meade. "We all viewed the photos and the video and just had a wonderful time. We are very glad that Dr. Jones decided to drop by!"
By April Hoyle Shauf
Special to Community First Media