Behind the Images

PopSci's staff photographer talks about some his favorite shots

Leaning from a low-flying helicopter to shoot a fast-moving military boat. Zooming in on a tiny bee equipped with a radio transmitter. Feeling the heat while snapping a car explosion just meters away. These are a few of the adventurous scenarios John B. Carnett has found himself in while on assignment for Popular Science. In this slideshow, our esteemed staff photographer tells us what´s going on behind the scenes of a few of his choicest pics.

by John B. Carnett
A Zodiac 870 boat photographed off of Norfolk, VA with former Navy SEALs from a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter, flying sideways very low to the water.John B. Carnett
by John B. Carnett
Students watch a car burn that was set on fire at a forensic training school in Tennessee. They were trying to determine what fluid was used to start the fire.John B. Carnett
by John B. Carnett
Boeing Canard Rotor Wing / Dragonfly protype. This was a full-size, non-working unit photographed in a hanger in Arizona.John B. Carnett
by John B. Carnett
This was shot at the air marshal training center in Atlantic City, NJ. It's an interior mockup of an aircraft with live rounds in play.John B. Carnett
by John B. Carnett
Jari, owner of Birdman Wingsuits, and his two friends jumping out of the back of a plane at 8,000 feet and 120 MPH. We only got one frame per jump, so we made three jumps. On the last jump, Jari's primary parachute failed, but happily, his backup worked just fine.John B. Carnett
by John B. Carnett
The American Spirit Sailplane photographed over Phoenix Arizona in 1994. The camera was mounted to the nose of the sailplane.John B. Carnett
by John B. Carnett
This is a portrait of the final Joint Strike Fighter or JSF planes together (Boeing on the left / Lockheed on the right) shot at Edwards Airforce base at sunset. It was very rare that they were ever together.John B. Carnett
by John B. Carnett
Constructed and flown in defiance of KGB policies, Victor Dmitriev's sophisticated "suitcase ultralight" was a hot innovation in mini-aircraft when the feature accompanying this photo was published in 1993.John B. Carnett
by John B. Carnett
The Rose Center for Earth and Space on 81st street in NYC. I photographed this from a window across the street using a 14-minute exposure while watching a movie in my hotel room.John B. Carnett
by John B. Carnett
This is a bee used to send a radio signal to detect drugs at a customs check point. This photo was featured in our 9/11 issue in 2001.John B. Carnett
by John B. Carnett
This is a Triton submarine photographed 33 miles off the coast of Florida-shot from an Agusta 109 helicopter. I worked with the Navy to get the latitude and longitude location of the sub, but was only able to shoot for three minutes before our starboard transmission started overheating and we had to return to base.John B. Carnett
by John B. Carnett
Famed pilot Chuck Yeager, a few days before his last flight (in which he'd reach Mach 1 one final time) at the Edwards AFB show in 1998. Feature: "The Last Hero Pilot" in PS 01/98John B. Carnett