It was a gorgeous September day-You know the type. You breathe in the crisp Fall air in the morning and by afternoon you are letting the warm sun rays caress your skin with it's warm embrace. This was the day that Kevin & Gary (his dad) took to the sky above Traverse City, Michigan for some stellar aerial photos that I was honored to photograph. I remember all three pilots worried that I wasn't going to be warm enough once we were airborne as typical me, was wearing a light layer due to the warm September day.... Needless to say they provided me with a jacket to wear and boy was I thankful for that once we were soaring high in the sky!
We met at the Traverse City Airport and got ready for one of the most spectacular memories of my life.
After the Pre-Flight checks we were ready for take off!
Once in the air, I couldn't stop taking photo after photo as this experience was HEAPS more than I could have imagined when Kevin asked me to photograph him and his dad.
We soared above Traverse City, the planes seemingly floating around each other in a perfectly orchestrated dance. Our pilots were in constant communication with each other to make these images flow seamlessly.
There are some things that you truly have to experience to soak in the emotion of a moment. My hope is that you can experience some of what we felt while flying that day.
Soaring over the Bay.
Kevin performed a few stunts for us-Did I mention he was an amazing Aero Sports pilot? He performed not only at our beloved town Cherry Festival but he also was involved in multiple air shows in surrounding areas.
We wrapped up our sky adventure and headed back to base.
What truly touched my heart is the bond of Father and Son with flying. Kevin's dad got him started at a very young age.
"Kevin William Copeland, 29, of Williamsburg passed away on July 30, 2017 as a result of an on coming distracted driver accident. Kevin was born September 23, 1987 to Terry (Ziabkowski) and Gary Copeland. He is survived by his loving parents, sister Christy Augustine, an aunt,Judy Tabaczka, and cousins and their families. Kevin graduated from Elk Rapids High School in 2006. After high school, Kevin attended and graduated from the Northwestern Michigan College Aviation Program and Davenport University business degree program. He had a love for flying at a young age. His dad, a corporate pilot, started taking him flying to airshows as soon as he could walk. Kevin was his best co-pilot. They currently had been building a plane together in the family farm hanger. He had a talent for teaching and became an aviation instructor. Kevin also had a love of thrills doing aerobatics. Kevin and his Super Decathlon plane, Belle, competed and flew in airshows all over the region including the National Cherry Festival and Wings Over Northern Michigan. His parents and family members were his best fans always supporting him in his love of aerobatics. At the time of his death, Kevin was an air craft captain with Air Services, Inc.. Kevin always had a smile on his face, a gentle voice, and was a friend to all. He had a gift to fly."
Looking through these photos brings me so much joy of memories past. Kevin was an amazing person, friend, and all around stellar human. Photographing him doing what he loved is a memory that I cherish.
He took me up in his plane months prior to this shoot and proceeded to do a few stunts with me along for the ride-again, one of the best memories of my life. My legs were like noodles after that and my adrenaline was jacked. It gave me a whole new respect for stunt pilots and their skillset, training, and talent!
"Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through the footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high un-trespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."
Always in our hearts-we won't ever forget you!