Blackhawk HH-60M captured by D6 / 180-400VR

We’d been concentrating on photographing Bison calves when I first heard that distinctive thumping of the air. Off in the distance I saw the speak that kept getting bigger and bigger. Then it dawned on me, the Helo from Ellsworth was coming into the small strip at Custer State Park. Well hey, Blackhawk in the Blackhills, how could I pass that up?!

Blackhawk HH-60M captured by D6 / 180-400VR

We got in the truck and headed up to the stripe. I knew from past experience that if the pilot noticed me out with a big lens, they tend to favor the lens as much as they can. Well darn, that didn’t work this time. They were doing dust off training so the first place we parked, we only got ass shots after it was done and taking the pattern again. So we repositioned further down the field to get the shots you see above. I was shooting the Bison with the D6 / 180-400VR so that’s what I had in my hand. I would normally go to Shutter Priority but didn’t have the luxury of time so being in Aperture Priority, I shut the aperture down to f/22 bringing my shutter speed down to 1/40. I got some rotor blur but not as much as I would like. And while these are not some great photos, they aren’t, it was fun to get in some panning practice after photographing the non-moving Bison. And heck, I never pass up adding a new bird in the Blackhills.

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