The Dubai 2015 Air Show Has Plenty of Glitz, Metal, and Sunshine
Adam Senatori used to fly airplanes for a living. Now he photographs them. He’s spent the past decade shooting anything that flies, and just returned from the 14th Dubai Air Show, an industry trade show that highlights some of the coolest new stuff in the biz.
The five-day extravaganza is the industry’s biggest players show off their latest technology and broker epic deals. The last show, in 2013, drew more than 60,000 people who placed more than $162 billion worth of orders on the first day alone. “These events are the pinnacle of finance and technology,” Senatori says.
Given that General Electric hired him to shoot this year’s show, he focused on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Airbus A380 and the General Dynamics F16 fighter. Cool airplanes one and all, but the residence suite on the Etihad Airways A380 really blew him away. It features a bedroom, a common area, and a bathroom. He also found new appreciation for the F-22 Raptor, which is a stealth fighter. “I’ve seen the Raptor perform many times before but for some reason he was flying a routine unlike anything I’ve seen. Sick dogfighting moves.”
Senatori shot for two ten-hour days at Al Maktoum International Airport. While many photographers were inside snapping images of flight simulators and model planes, Senatori spent most of his time outside in the more than 100 degree heat. He wanted to capture the clean, bright lines of the planes against the tiny visitors milling about. Senatori needed equipment that could stand the sandy winds, so brought a digital Leica M-P (Type 240), and a Canon 5D MKIII instead of his Hasselblad.
Although photographing planes isn’t as exciting as flying them, Senatori—who’s racked up 6,300 hours of flight time in the past two decades—made the switch to photography in 2005. The constant threat of furloughs and airline bankruptcies left him thinking a new career might be in order. “It’s really turned out better. I get to travel the world shooting amazing machines and make aerial images from helicopters and aircrafts, yet still fly on my own and be home with my family more,” Senatori says. “I may go back someday and continue my career as an airline pilot, right now I’m pretty content as a photographer.”
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