It was fascinating to document a completely different world for a few days last week at the Paris Air Show. My assignment was to shoot the “trade only” (not public) part of one of the largest air shows in the world, for one of the top aerospace engine and equipment manufacturers.

Shooting a mix of photo and video, I covered meet-and-greets with governors, trade secretaries, and military brass. I covered trade show presentations of new products, created portraits of pilots, and documented various VIPs visiting the company’s exhibition space. I crept into cockpits and peered into fusillages.

And yes I photographed planes. Lots of planes – fighter jets, commercial airliners, bi-planes, small private planes, and even helicopters. It was a thrill to get a first glimpse of the new Lockheed F35, a super fast fighter that had the ability to land… on a battleship! (of course, a good amount smaller than an aircraft carrier). It was also wild to watch commercial Boeing airplanes doing huge sweeping banks, knowing (hoping?) that they would never do this in a regular flight, in order to show the capabilities of the airplane.

As a bonus, I got to learn some of the vocabulary of the aerospace industry: “static” airplanes are those on the ground; “content” is the word manufacturers use to refer to the parts/equipment on a plane that they’ve produced; the “cowl” is the steel hood that goes on an engine. Good stuff!