I was on assignment for RRD International, shooting their 2007 catalog. We were on the beautiful peninsula of Le Morne, on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. We had already planned to shoot from the helicopter for the catalog, as the colors of the lagoon are unbelievable there.
We decided for a third hour of helicopter flying time, dedicated purely to capturing wave-riding shots between kite and windsurfing. I told the athletes to wait for me on the upwind side of the reef until they saw me, then to come down surfing the most beautiful wave of the island.
I discovered at the helicopter briefing that they had changed the pilot, and he did not want to fly lower than 500 feet. I knew it was too high to shoot the riders, but there was no way to convince him otherwise; we almost bailed the heli-day. I decided finally to go with my eye for art, without considering the riders. I positioned the pilot to get me the frames I wanted: the surfers, the reef, and the lines of the waves.
I came back with a throbbing headache from an hour of looking through a 400 mm lens from a moving helicopter. I was so happy when I saw the images — the clients and athletes were speechless.