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The opportunity of a lifetime!

There have been many twists and turns during this crazy challenge of ours, this one though, tops them all! I belong to a fantastic local photography club called Willfield Camera Club. They are an incredibly friendly and welcoming bunch of people but also, unlike many other clubs, they don't close for summer and do an absolute TON of activities. Last year the members of Willfield visited Tatenhill Airfield for an afternoon of flying around taking pictures (how amazing is that?). Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend that trip due to the complications of the pregnancy, it was a missed opportunity for sure :(

Fast forward to today though... Claire Wade from Willfield contacted Tatenhill to see if it would be possible to send Tracy and I up in a plane to photograph the Peak District from a very unique viewpoint. Michael Fage, a pilot with over 40 years experience, emailed us to say that it would be his pleasure. I should add at this point that Tracy isn't a confident flyer and had a haunting experience with the sea plane on our honeymoon. She also hadn't felt particularly well that day so decided to wait on the ground whilst I went up with Michael.

It was an experience that I will never ever forget and it was absolutely incredible to see some of the locations we had grown to love from such a view. Michael was a pleasure to sit with, he flew the plane so that I was always able to photography the locations on the side of the plane I was sat in. He knew the Peak District very well and was a brilliant guide, he showed us some of the photographs he has taken himself, they are superb. We spent just over an hour in the sky together, the time 'flew by' (sorry, couldn't resist). He explained everything that he was doing; all the controls, how the radio and GPS worked, everything! It was fascinating, it was clearly Michaels passion and I could see why. I took a ton of shots, these are my favourite:

There were a lot of people in the Peak District over the weekend, partly because it was such a nice day but also because Chatsworth House hosted an event which included a lot of hot air balloons. You can see in the next shot just how many people/cars were at Chatsworth, the perspective from the plan really does it justice:

I took as much video as I could inside the cockpit for our YouTube Channel, I'll get around to editing it as soon as I can. This is the beautiful plane I got to fly in:

I said that Tracy didn't come with me on the actual flight, but that didn't mean that I was flying solo... nope, Grace also came along:

I don't know if my words can do this experience justice but it was just absolutely incredible and I loved every single minute of it! We landed safely and smoothly, Michael parked the plane in the hangar, we then all had a cup of tea back at the base. We got a shot of the three of us just before we left:

We would like to offer our sincere thanks once again to Michael who was a fantastic host, pilot and now, friend. His kindness and generosity made for some fantastic photos that wouldn't have been possible even with the drone at it's highest point. Michael, thank you for everything!

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