Cherry picking the views at Sunnylands
In April 2012, I received a call from The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands. It was an opportunity to photograph the lauded Sunnylands, the 200-acre, Rancho Mirage, California, former residence and private golf course built fifty years ago by Walter and Leonore Annenberg of ‘TV Guide’ fame and fortune. It just also happens to be the spot where former President Obama held historic meetings with China’s President Xi last year—one of the important political events that has earned the compound the designation as the Camp David of the west where global leaders seek to advance international peace and understanding.
During the call, describing the kinds of shots needed for their printed materials and for historical documentation, it was mentioned there would be the use of a cherry picker to allow me a bird’s eye perspective of the golf course, fishing lakes and mid-century modern architecture by A.Quincy Jones.
“Holy crap!” I thought. The idea of dangling from a bucket attached to a long robotic arm high up in the air was seriously tweaking my acrophobia. These were the ‘pre-drone’ days of photography so as it turned out, yours truly was the drone on this one.
I graciously accepted the job despite the stomach pangs I felt thinking about shooting from the cherry picker..I was so motivated by the idea of shooting the famed historical interiors designed by the late William Haines and Ted Graber and complemented by the Annenberg’s legendary art collection that I just couldn’t pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity over a little case of acrophobia.
As it turned out, the ride was pretty fun and the guy entrusted with my safety was an absolute pro
All images courtesy: The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands