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Firefighting aircraft in action...
Posted By: heliphoto, 08-13-2008, 10:31 PM

Shot over 400 photos today with the bigma... Got to see a good airshow...

A SEAT (Single Engine Air Tanker) dropping...

A "Scooper" air tanker on approach to the fire...
A drop...

A few more are here.

If you find this thread in a while and the pictures don't load, it's because I haven't processed these shots at all, and I will do so when I have time and update the gallery, but the links will break when I delete the unprocessed ones...
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08-13-2008, 10:45 PM   #2
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wow, impressive work!
08-14-2008, 03:20 AM   #3
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Yup, that lens does a fine job! I hope that your house isn't threatened by the fires!!

I found the shake reduction to work amazingly well with the Bigma. You will also find that you can use it handheld in a rocking boat, but you will also develop your biceps too!
08-14-2008, 03:34 AM   #4
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What's the SEAT? A Turbo Thrush?

I'm so getting a Bigma before the next fire season...

I'm worried you took the previous owners advice on shooting from a rocking boat. Please don't tell us you were flying the AAS around at the time you shot those. (er Air Attack Supervisor over here)

08-14-2008, 05:29 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by rmtagg Quote
wow, impressive work!
Thanks, it kept me entertained all day.

QuoteOriginally posted by TomInJax Quote
Yup, that lens does a fine job! I hope that your house isn't threatened by the fires!!

I found the shake reduction to work amazingly well with the Bigma. You will also find that you can use it handheld in a rocking boat, but you will also develop your biceps too!
Nah, I'm working (flying a helicopter) at this fire, but I'm many states away from home. I haven't shot much with the lens handheld, I should have mentioned that these were taken with a tripod, though at times with the ball head loose, so I could pan with the planes.

QuoteOriginally posted by Dale Quote
What's the SEAT? A Turbo Thrush?

I'm so getting a Bigma before the next fire season...

I'm worried you took the previous owners advice on shooting from a rocking boat. Please don't tell us you were flying the AAS around at the time you shot those. (er Air Attack Supervisor over here)
I couldn't handle that lens while flying! (that's what point 'n shoots are for) I'm here in an AS350 (squirrel to you / a-star to me), which would normally be used in that sort of role on a fire like this, usually flying the operations chief etc. on recons, but in this case you can see the active fire from the road, and I haven't flown a recon mission yet. I flew half an hour yesterday to place a remote camera rig on a hillside (ironically, I'm sure this camera is now doing the recon instead of me) - so spent my day in photographer mode.

Yeah, a SEAT is something like that, an aerial application plane converted to drop retardant. Here are some pictures of SEATs (not my shots).
08-14-2008, 09:16 AM   #6
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Great photos, especially #2!

I have only been near a forest fire once, when I lived in New Mexico, and that was enough. Hats off to all of you that fight forest fires!

7.62lew
08-14-2008, 09:41 AM   #7
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Wow Josh these are really well done. Excellent work!
08-14-2008, 09:43 AM   #8
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Canadair CL-215, nice! Thay are built a few miles from where I live.

Does your state own the 215's or do they have them come down from Canada (I know my province has a huge fleet of 215's and 415's and regularely send some down to the US)

Pat

08-14-2008, 09:48 AM   #9
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Yes a great series and you have a perspective that few of us could get. I was wondering how you could shoot down on the planes. Now I know you were in the air as well.
08-14-2008, 12:40 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by 7.62lew Quote
Great photos, especially #2!

I have only been near a forest fire once, when I lived in New Mexico, and that was enough. Hats off to all of you that fight forest fires!

7.62lew
QuoteOriginally posted by LaRee Quote
Wow Josh these are really well done. Excellent work!
Thanks...

QuoteOriginally posted by ve2vfd Quote
Canadair CL-215, nice! Thay are built a few miles from where I live.

Does your state own the 215's or do they have them come down from Canada (I know my province has a huge fleet of 215's and 415's and regularely send some down to the US)

Pat
I believe these are from Canada, but I'm not sure. My state is California, but this fire is in Montana, and I'm here with a fire crew from Nevada (with a helicopter which is contracted out of L.A., California).

QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
Yes a great series and you have a perspective that few of us could get. I was wondering how you could shoot down on the planes. Now I know you were in the air as well.
Actually, I was on the ground on top of a ridge opposite the fire when I was shooting down on the planes. There's no way I could handle the bigma while flying.
08-15-2008, 05:54 AM   #11
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Just an update to say that I've had a chance to upload more photos to the helicopter and airtanker galleries.


Last edited by heliphoto; 08-16-2008 at 05:59 PM. Reason: fixed photo url
08-15-2008, 11:03 PM   #12
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Worth a look too!

There is a couple of shots with two Canadair scooper in frame at once, and some startling shots of a bomber dropping bright blue gel.

The SEATs ("Bombers" in Australia) are turbos. Apart from the turbines, we use PZL Dromaders with great cranking radials. There is nothing more awe inspiring than the sound of three or four PZLs orbiting above, then diving in on your line. The sound is just fantastic. (Sorry all you Jet A1 fans out there...)




QuoteOriginally posted by heliphoto Quote
Just an update to say that I've had a chance to upload more photos to the helicopter and airtanker galleries.


Last edited by Dale; 08-15-2008 at 11:11 PM.
08-16-2008, 06:09 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dale Quote
Worth a look too!

There is a couple of shots with two Canadair scooper in frame at once, and some startling shots of a bomber dropping bright blue gel.

The SEATs ("Bombers" in Australia) are turbos. Apart from the turbines, we use PZL Dromaders with great cranking radials. There is nothing more awe inspiring than the sound of three or four PZLs orbiting above, then diving in on your line. The sound is just fantastic. (Sorry all you Jet A1 fans out there...)
Thanks Dale. That blue gel got oohs and aahs from the people on the helibase with every drop as it's new to us as well. All the SEATS I've worked with are turbines (I've worked with a Dromader, but it was a turbine conversion). When I was a kid in California, CDFs fleet of S-2 tankers would rumble overhead my house most summer days with their twin radials blasting out that growl... I blame watching them for my career path somewhat . There are still some radially powered heavies around and they are awesome to listen to.

I was stoked to get those two scoopers in the frame at once, very fortuitous...
08-16-2008, 08:14 PM   #14
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I was reflecting on your posts, and the need for me to have a Bigma for fire photography... In nearly fifteen years of forest fire fighting I would have had maybe seven or eight opportunities to be in places where I could have the luxury of a few minutes to grab a shot or two with a decent camera.

Nice to see the helibase folks set up your base with a view to grandstanding the fire. Very considerate...

Grabbing a P&S out of your bag is an easy thing to do. Not so much a Bigma I would think.

Upon aural qualities of aerial appliances...

I much prefer the sound of a UH1 with its distinct "wop wop" rotor sound to anything with four or more blades. (I grant you the sound of an incomming Aircrane is somewhat awe inspiring...)
08-16-2008, 08:53 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dale Quote
...
Nice to see the helibase folks set up your base with a view to grandstanding the fire. Very considerate...

Grabbing a P&S out of your bag is an easy thing to do. Not so much a Bigma I would think.

Upon aural qualities of aerial appliances...

I much prefer the sound of a UH1 with its distinct "wop wop" rotor sound to anything with four or more blades. (I grant you the sound of an incomming Aircrane is somewhat awe inspiring...)
Not only was the helibase convenient, my only mission that day was to fly the tech folks up to a ridge top to set up a remote camera site, so by definition it had a great view of the fire, and I had to shut down and wait about 40 minutes for them (snapping away the whole time). I agree though that a P&S is much more useful day to day on fires (esp. in helicopters or on the line).

However, my camera lives in my backpack (usually on the fuel truck), and I get a chance to shoot it now and then.

The Huey types (212,UH-1,205/4, 214) are the best sounding aircraft around IMHO. Have you ever heard a K-Max? Almost stealth they're so quiet.

Somehow I think all this fire jibber-jabber is alienating the photographers...
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