I have been hired a number of times to photograph a ship undergoing its' 'sea trial'. Sounds pretty basic: Airplane meets ship at sea, and flies around it for 15-30 minutes taking photos of dramatic turns with the wake prominently in the background.
The problem lies when the airplane shows up at the pre-arranged spot, only to discover that there is no ship nearby that looks like the one in the email picture. Uh Oh! So now we fly around, looking ...looking, and hoping that we will see it within a few miles of the designated meeting spot.
Best case, we find the ship within 10-15 minutes, get our photos and leave. Worst case, after 20-30 minutes of circling, we have to land at a nearby airport and start making telephone calls only to find out that our ship hasn't left the channel, due to equipment problems, or port scheduling problems.
Yes, we always make a telephone call to the managing engineer prior to take-off, but things often happen. That's life.
Sometimes the ship is going much faster than expected and we have to catch it, but more often, we have to land and wait --- and wait... And sometimes, the gods smile upon all of us, and everything comes together perfectly. It's all in a day!