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Helicopter excursion in Hawaii (10 pics)

Discussion in 'Photojournalism, Candids and Street Photography' started by Joe_Lorenzini, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. Ok, if you choose not to wait for 10 images to download, I'll understand. I'm sorry for posting so many but I promise they are not frivolously used.

    Went to Hawaii (Big Island) over Easter and took the opportunity to go up in a Hughes 500 helicopter out of Hilo with the doors removed (it cost me an extra 20 bucks but was wildly worth it!).

    I first read a great article by E.J. Peiker:
    which served as the perfect primer.

    I then decided to bring up with me the D2X, 10.5 fisheye (on a whim), 17-55mm DX (main lens) and the 200-400VR (my one mistake). I never used the fish. Most these images are with the 17-55 with the last two with the 200-400VR...

    So I get to the airfield and they remove the doors:

    It's a very cloudy, drizzly day so I'm not too hopeful at this point that I'm going to get anything solid. Still, it looks to be a fun trip traveling at 140mph with the doors off. I'm held in place by a standard seat belt (I would have thought harness but it's a lap/shoulder belt and they duct tape the belt latch shut).

    The tour I'm on is the Waterfall/Volcano tour. The waterfall part is quite lame as you're so high up that they look like little streams below. After we buzz a few we go up so that we're just under the clouds and in the distance we see the top of Mt. Kilauea with the sulfur steam rising out of the ground.

    As we get closer we can make out details and they're something from a sci-fi movie. You can see the difference in color between the clouds and the sulfur. The wind is moving pretty good up here and it keeps the smoke low to the ground.

    The clouds break and you can see the shore. There are three things to notice here. First off, the devastation is incredible, it surrounds everything and the beauty in it is the designs the lava makes as it cools. Second, you can see two spots of earth that went untouched in this lava flow (keep that in mind for the image after this one) and third you can start to see where the lava enters the ocean in the upper right.

    Remember that spot of earth that was spared?, well there's a house on it and the guy who owns it refuses to give it up so he runs it as a B&B. The only way to get to it is by helicopter as it's surrounded by the devastation and nobody's crazy enough to try and build a road up there. If you look closely, you can see the owner riding his bike just below the house (in the blue shirt).
    This was taken with the 200-400VR.

    So we get to the ocean and there's no clouds so it's all good news. It's an amazing site to see, very violent as the coast is cracked and collapsing the ocean is all stirred up and smoke rises fast, changing direction with the wind. I took this shot to check my settings and then noticed the people walking next to the lava flow. Note that the lighter lava is the hot stuff so they got pretty close.

    Here's a closeup of the people:

    So I decide to change lenses from to the 200-400VR and this is where I find out I'm an idiot. First off the back of the helicopter is cramped and changing lenses is not easy, second there's not much room between myself and the open door and with 100mph winds going by you don't want a big lens sticking out the door or whoosh... Third off it's too much reach. The 70-200VR with TC would have been more than enough.

    Still, I did it and here's the result:

    Here's a crop of the good stuff:

    If you get the chance, take it! It was a great trip and great to fly with the doors off, although a little hairy when he did the sharp bank turns.

    Thanks for looking!

  2. Joe, it seems that aerials are not that easy to shoot. Did you use a C-Polar :?: :?
    I should expect to see more of the fish, some of the 17-55 and none of the surka-bazouka :D 

    Your last ones are very good! Didn't the Heli stop on top of your "subjects" and give you the time to get your shots? :shock:

    I'm planning a balloon ride over here (in Cyprus) to get some aerials and thinging to get with me the 17-35 only (maybe the 80-200) or the 12-24 if my LLD leads my right index to that "click here to proceed with order" button 8)
  3. Hi Panos,

    No fish this time, it was a family trip and this was my only "getaway".

    I was advised against bringing any filters but in post I did have to account for the haze by reducing blues and some green. It helped to bring out the true color of the landscape.

    The pilot was pretty unwilling to stop but did slow down a bit when we were directly overhead. There were also a half dozen other helicopters buzzing in the area so it was a bit crowded up there.

    Post pictures of your balloon ride, that sounds like something I'd also like to try!

  4. The balloon is a totally diferent story... we might get up to 5000m (~15000ft) where I will definately need a CP... (and an oxygen mask :lol: )
  5. Joe,

    Nice images. Seems like it would be very difficult to shoot in a helicopter. :eek:  :eek:  :eek:  :eek: 
  6. Yeah, aperture priority at f/2.8 and let the shutter speed take care of itself, usually around 1/1000 to 1/4000.
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