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on Aug 4, 2008 in Landscape Photography

From the deck and the other side of the valley

While we can easily see the smoke from our front 2nd story deck, had to drive 1/2 mile to see the action. Heading out yesterday afternoon to go fishing, we saw the small puffs of smoke and called 911. It was a “little” 10acre fire “south of town.” When we woke this AM, it was 250 acres and had “marched” down the mtnside.

Reading the official news in regards to the fire, it sounds pretty darn scary! Even as I write this, I can hear and see the air tankers flying overhead, on their way to make drops.

I grabbed my MP-1 and headed down the road to a clearing where I could actually photograph the efforts of the air tankers and helicopters making the chemical and water drops.

The helicopters are flying a short distance from the fire to suck up water in high sierra lakes. You can see the rugged country (when there is no smoke) in which the aircraft and ground crews have to contend with to fight the fire.

The roads to get close to the fire are single lane, mtn dirt roads. Not wanting to be part of the problem, I found a ridge top to set up the 600VR to shoot the drops. Being 1/2 mile away and using the big glass emphasized the heat shimmer which you see as a lack of sharpness. Personally, I think it speaks volumes about the conditions the hand crews and pilots have to work battling the blaze.

I wish I knew who the pilot was of helicopter #729 because I would like to thank him for his incredible skill! I can’t imagine flying in that heat, uplifts, rugged terrain all day long fighting the fire. All I can say to all on the line…thanks!

Photos capture by D3, 600VR on Lexar UDMA digital film