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  1. #1

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    Photo thought of the day.

    Cruising back from San Diego today I passed a military base where they are practising "touch and go" helicopter maneuvers. Beautiful day! Straw yellow fields on a bluff over the ocean with great big blue skies. Some clouds but long and flat. Kind of stretched by the wind. So I'm watching this approach and land then take off again sequence (At 80 miles p/hr) and caught myself trying to figure out how I would capture this image and tell the story.
    To do it would need time exposure fast enough to show the blades moving but not indestinguishly blurred. The exhaust from the motors would be a great addition because they had a magenta color that would separate from the blue but would need a different exposure time that the rotors. So many details, the wind flatted grass, the pilot silouetted against the blue of the apposing window on and on!
    Got me to thinking. Here we are non dimensional image makers. With out the benefit of moving film, conversation and the written word trying to tell our story. Yet there are so many tools there, already that speak for themselves. I'll never get to shoot that image but it was sure fun playing with it!
    Stop trying to get into my mind, There is nothing there!

  2. #2
    bobfowler's Avatar
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    I almost dread the thought of the replies this may generate, but here goes...

    Having worked on military installations for the past 30 years, let me assure you that, in the present climate, you'd most likely be stopped by the MP's if you were taking pictures of flight ops through the fence. 99% of military installations are posted for "No Photography" these days. It's NOT a constitutional issue either, the law allows for the local base commander to make the decision whether to allow photography on or of their installations, even from public roadways. The MP's and DoD cops on the installation where I work confiscate a LOT of film. They have it processed at a local lab, and if there is nothing classified, forward the film and pictures on to the shooter with a warning not to do it again.
    Bob Fowler
    fowler@verizon.net
    Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

  3. #3
    Shmoo's Avatar
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    That's the Camp Pendleton Marine Base, north of Oceanside. I think there's a rest stop nearby that you can stop at that is close enough to see the maneuvering choppers (the big ones are impressive). There's also a stretch of the I-805 in San Diego where the Navy used to fly over (Top Gun, now the Marine Corps Air Base at Miramar)...the off ramp gives a pretty good view.

  4. #4
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobfowler
    99% of military installations are posted for "No Photography" these days. It's NOT a constitutional issue either, the law allows for the local base commander to make the decision whether to allow photography on or of their installations, even from public roadways. The MP's and DoD cops on the installation where I work confiscate a LOT of film.
    Ditto what Bob said. These "No Photography" zones have existed for years but its now wider than ever before. Bob is also right-there is no challenge to them. Their validity has been upheld by the courts, again, for many years.

    Thomas, what I would suggest is doing some scouting. First, look to see if there are any No Photo zones, Second, go out on a nice afternoon and see if there are spectators watching (used to do that a lot pre 9/11). If you do get challenged, be courteous and respectful, don't try to start a Constitutional Rights debate because it won't get you anywhere at all except further gruff hassle. All that being said, you may still be able to find a place, maybe even the one you want. All things being said, the military still likes rubber neckers-its free publicity and helps recruiting.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
    My Photography Blog

  5. #5
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    In Canada is we had a military helicopter that could stay in the air for more than a few minutes it would be news worthy let alone a piece of art LOL.
    www.ericrose.com
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    "civility is not a sign of weakness" JFK

    "The Dude abides" - the Dude

  6. #6
    Dinesh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Rose
    In Canada is we had a military helicopter that could stay in the air for more than a few minutes it would be news worthy let alone a piece of art LOL.
    We have a helicopter?

  7. #7

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    Of course we do. but it belongs to the Brampton police just north of Toronto. Since it has rained for about 5 weeks in a row it has been sleeping. Thank goodness we have no crises that would mandate its being lent to the military. I don't think our taxes could stand the hit.

  8. #8
    John Bartley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelly Grimson
    Of course we do. but it belongs to the Brampton police
    Actually, it's not owned by the police. It's owned by a leasing company. We can't buy helicopters because we don't have any money. We used all our available cash helping Britain solve its problem of how to dispose of its obselete subs and setting up a huge beaurocracy to prove once and for all that criminals don't register firearms. (both ventures were hugely successful) In Canada, we could get our entire airforce into one picture without missing a single biplane .

  9. #9

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    It might be worth shooting 35mm rather than larger formats to make it easier on the MPs. They might not be so willing to develop and return film if it seems too exotic!

    Back in the 1980's I did some 'side-of-the-road' shots of military exercises. The MPs (Marines, they were) very politely asked for the film and my ID. They processed overnight and returned the prints the next day. I offered to pay, but they said it was "on the house... just that one time." I understood them so I have no further exeriences to share.

  10. #10

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    I just think it is really funny that, That shot and it's details really took up about 20 miles to think about and work out and then reality sets in. There is not a chance in hell it is going to happen. Well it was happening over and over again but it would not touch film. What a fun excersise to have while driving though. Don't remember much of the drive itself so I guess it is kind of like driving with a cell phone. I wonder if we can get a ticket for driving while visualizing.. " I'm sorry officer I've only had 2 visions today"
    Stop trying to get into my mind, There is nothing there!

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