Published: Tuesday, July 25th 2017, 4:37 pm MST By Lydia Camarillo, Anchor
“The sky is the limit for this crew! Skydiving team Arizona X-Force is gearing up for the Skydiving World Cup next month in Germany as part of the U.S. Parachute Team, the nation’s most elite aerial athletes. The team trains at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Arizona X-Force won the bronze in vertical formation skydiving at the U.S. Parachute Association National Skydiving Championships. During vertical formation skydiving, four-person teams exit the plane more than two miles above the ground and perform acrobatic maneuvers.” Copyright 2017Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.
PICTURE PERFECT: Man takes pictures, 15,000 feet up in the air
“Skydiving, as one can imagine, is dangerous enough, but try to imagine the added element of trying to capture the perfect picture, 12,000 feet up in the air. One photographer does exactly that, as a career.
“As a kid, I’ve always been pretty active, always enjoyed extreme sports, whether it was doing the skateboarding thing or riding bicycles,” said Niklas Daniel. “In this case, this was just another thing I wanted to experiment with.”
One can call Daniel a skydiving expert. To date, Daniel has made more than 10,000 jumps, and counting, and he is now known as one of the best behind the camera, at 12,000 feet.
Daniel’s love for photography began at an early age, and after falling in love with skydiving, he blended his two passions.
“The moment is very fleeting,” said Daniel. “So, if you have a shot in your head that you would like to create, it takes a lot of practice, a lot of training, also a little engineering to try and put that together.”
Daniel also described the difference between photography works that take place on terra firma, and those that take place up in the air.
“If you’re taking a photograph on the ground, depending on the subject, you maybe have the ability to take a test shot, take a look at the settings, and then be able to adjust until you get that right shot,” said Daniel. “Skydiving is more of sport photography, where they’re trying to get that perfect shot and it’s not something that you can recreate necessarily.”
Daniel said in order to be a good aerial photographer, you’d have to be a great skydiver.
“Not is it enough that I have to fly my own body or my parachute for example, but I have to be able to do that without having to think about it that much that I can now focus on the shot,” said Daniel. “In addition to that, I have to be very aware of my closing speeds with other people, the distance I’m away from them and I also have to remain altitude aware. I can’t look at my altimeter constantly, because that would ruin the shot.”
Equipment is also important. Daniel’s helmet works as his rig, and his tripod is his own body.
Over the years, Daniel has documented other people’s jumps, along with the formation of skydiving teams. He has also produced training video. Daniel said some of his favorite pictures to take are during competition with his team.
“I really enjoy the pressure of having to get a specific shot, and then being able to present that to the judges,” said Daniel. “That’s been my expertise, but I also really enjoy the off-the-wall projects, so whether someone wants to light a parachute on fire or something kind of more in that direction. Something you don’t see everyday.”
Besides doing what he loves everyday, Daniel also gets to share his passion with others who might not get the chance to. He and his wife, Brianne, support “Operation Enduring Warrior” by donating their time to help wounded veterans enter the sport of skydiving.
Brianne Thompson and Niklas Daniel of AXIS Flight School, with Steve Curtis of Arizona Arsenal, recorded some video footage for Go Pro on October 22nd, 2014. Parts of the video were featured on the 60 Minutes segment “GoPro Moment” on February 4th, 2015. The final edit is scheduled to be released on Go Pro’s You Tube Channel very soon. Special thanks to: Samantha, Trunk, Wade and Robin for helping us get the shots!
60 Minutes SportsGoPro Moment Intro Curtis and Brianne flying head down Brianne approaching the slip and slide Brianne on the slip and slideCurtis demonstrates precision on landing60 Minutes end credits, Curtis, Brianne and Nik build a “3-stack” over Skydive Arizona with their high performance canopies.
It has been over a year now since AXIS Flight School got to meet and jump with Todd Love (USMC veteran who lost both of his legs and his left hand to an IED in Afghanistan). On Saturday 28th February 2015, at 08:15, ProSieben (a German television channel) featured some of Todd’s video footage flying over Skydive Arizona on the show “Galileo Big Picture”.
Unfortunately the segment can not be viewed in the US due to country code laws, but here is a screen grab of Todd rocking out in the head up flying orientation over Eloy.
Mark Curtis tries skydiving, kind of. “AXIS Flight school is a skydiving school that offers dedicated skydivers the ability to expand their skills and knowledge. They offer one-on-one coaching along with a training facility for experienced jumpers. AXIS is in Eloy, Arizona, which is between Phoenix and Tucson, and also is an area that allows over 340 flying days a year due to the clear desert weather. Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson created AXIS after they both fell in love with skydiving and each other. They decided to open the school so that people who have a skydiving license can enhance their skills. The school was created to teach people how to jump with others, do tricks and a variety of other things. Daniel has loved skydiving ever since he first tried it at the age of 20. After that he knew he wanted to make a career out of it. “Skydiving in general has allowed me to carve out a niche for myself and I get to basically be my own boss,” Daniel said. “I get to meet a lot of interesting people from all walks of life and all over the world.”
One of the people he met was 12 News anchor Mark Curtis. Curtis and the rest of the Destination AZ crew ventured down to Eloy to experience what skydiving was like, without having to jump out of a plane. So Curtis entered the wind tunnel. A wind tunnel is a way to go indoor skydiving. Wind tunnels create a 150 mph vertical air column that a person can safely “float” on. This simulates what skydiving is actually like, minus jumping out of an airplane and deploying a parachute. Curtis got into a wind tunnel after a little direction from Daniel and Thompson and began indoor skydiving. “He was very open-minded. He was a good listener,” Daniel said.
He also added that Curtis picked up the indoor skydiving skills pretty quickly and was able to immediately apply those skills when he got in the wind tunnel. Curtis said he was in the tunnel altogether for about an hour but would take turns with other people and would only be in the tunnel for a few minutes at a time. Wind tunnel sessions are available at AXIS Flight School and can last for 15 minutes up to an hour. Be sure to watch Destination: AZ on at 7 p.m. on Feb. 27 to learn more about the beautiful places you can visit in Arizona.”
A bowling ball has never looked so light and free-falling as it does bouncing from person to person in midair after being launched from a moving airplane. | For more Outrageous Acts of Science, visit http://science.discovery.com/tv-shows…
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