Lane Swainston was born in Southern Nevada and currently resides there. His father began teaching Lane about photography at age 12. At that time Lane used his father’s Rolleicord medium format camera for landscape and nature photography. At age 17 Lane started experimenting with night photography during his first year attending Brigham Young University. In 1977 Lane served as the Public Communications Director for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Edinburgh, Scotland. During that time Lane worked with 35mm photography and offset printing. During the ensuing years his interest in photography continued to grow and explore other applications including time lapse photography in conjunction with his work on hotel / casino projects back in his home town of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Later Lane became a student helicopter pilot and through that experience realized the potential of aerial photography. Soon it became apparent to Lane that very little, if anything, had been done with aerial photography at night of Las Vegas. This realization started Lane on a quest to develop techniques and equipment to allow for clear aerial photography of the Las Vegas area in true night conditions.
In the mid 90’s Lane started taking and using aerial photographs to document engineering claims that he was working on as an expert. The power of aerial photography soon became apparent and the aerial photography work in Lane’s company expanded to the point that he created a separate company called “Swainston Digital Imaging” to handle the high demand. During that period, Lane realized that there was an increasing demand for night time aerial photography, especially in Las Vegas. Over the years, Lane has developed several pieces of equipment and techniques to allow for clear still aerial photography in low light and night conditions from a helicopter.
At one point in the early part of this century Lane purchased a Hasselblad digital camera system with a Phase One digital back. The challenge of night photography with this combination proved to be too difficult and Lane went back to 35mm systems to attempt to get better results with some encouraging success as he entered his night photography work in yearly competitions as part of his membership in the International Aerial Photographers Association “PAPA”. That organization presented Lane with various awards including “PAPA Innovation Award for Refining the Art of Night Aerial Photography and Exhibiting Engineering Excellence with Hand-Held Camera Stabilizing Equipment”, “Best Scenic Aerial Photograph” on two occasions, “Best Artistic Aerial Photograph” on two occasions, “Best of Category for Commercial Photography”, and “Aerial Photograph of the Year”.
On numerous occasions Lane has taught classes and practical sessions on the subject of Aerial Photography with special emphasis on low light and night aerial photography. In one instance Lane spoke of his frustration in trying to use Hasselbald camera equipment. Unbeknownst to Lane a Hasselblad rep was attending the conference and in the audience. What followed was an awkward attempt on Lane’s part to explain his position and extract his foot from his mouth.
The Hasselblad rep was most accommodating and accepted an invitation from Lane to remain in Las Vegas as his guest and do some photographic tests with the newer line of equipment that was then being produced by Hasselblad. That experience drove Lane to further perfect his stabilization equipment to allow for the use of the superior cameras that Hasselblad has to offer.
A few years later in 2014 Lane once again found himself teaching a seminar and hosting a night aerial photography shoot with members of PAPA. A significant difference from the first presentation was that Lane was now touting the Hasselblad system, with special emphasis on the newest H5D 50C system. Greg King provided the opportunity, encouragement and catalyst for Lane to develop a fine tuned operational system. During that conference and in the following months Lane has had the opportunity to test the system at night with his newest “Black Widow” camera stabilization system that he designed and built for the Hasselblad H5D 50C. The combination has produced stunning results which go beyond anything that Lane expected. This combination of equipment has opened up a whole new vision for Lane regarding what really can be done with the superior technology that is being offered by Hasselblad.
The experiments that have been accomplished so far have included some air-to-ground work using Broncolor strobe systems in conjunction with the Hasselblad H5D 50C. The new possible applications and opportunities seem endless. In just over one decade Lane has gone from losing interest in Hasselblad to realizing that it is the only camera equipment that will really allow him to further push the envelope in his chosen niche of nighttime aerial photography. Hasselblad had proven that they can deliver on their promises by passing the most difficult tests that Lane could present. There never has been a suitable substitute for excellence. In this case Hasselblad has proven to be excellent.