The most expensive photo of my career

The most expensive photo of my career


This photo is not the most beautiful, and certainly not my favorite. However, it is unique and remains the most expensive I have made to date. My only mission was to photograph the herd of caribou on winter migration, around the Rivière aux Feuilles, in Nunavik. Accompanied by an experienced helicopter pilot, a Cree guide and my client, we flew to the vastness of the North in bitter cold of around -38°C. The aircraft, a Eurocopter AS350, has the reputation of being as efficient as it is thirsty for fuel. In the “North”, it operates at the rate of $1000 per hour, not including crew wages. Hours pass and no caribou appear in the landscape. The tension on board becomes palpable. The fuel gauges are reaching a worrying level. The pilot mentions it in a serious tone: “One more pass and we'll be short for the return”. At this very moment, we see the caribou, at least a few of them… The pilot performs the last chance maneuver and says to me: “I hope you have your photo, because we are going to return to vapors from now on…» To make matters worse, we face an unexpected headwind to come back. The sun is slowly setting. The base is in sight, far on the horizon. The needles are well planted on the “E”. All in all, it was my most direct and hard landing in a helicopter, but I had “MA ” photo… 

Device: Canon EOS 5D MKII

Lens: EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

Exposure: 1/320s at f/5

ISO: 1000

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