Back Modifications (0)
Views 94 Unique 52
Vote 31
Award Shortlist   

Holiday Patrol

By GeorgeP
It is a holiday weekend in America so Galveston’s beaches are crowded. Sadly, common sense is not very common and tragedies are common. So, the Coast Guard helicopters regularly patrol the beaches. The H-65 (Dolphin) is the U.S. Coast Guard's primary rescue helicopter. I have been trying to get a good shot of it for a long, long time. My objectives are relatively simple: in focus, shutter speed sufficiently slow to suggest movement in the rotor and the appropriate aperture/ISO for a reasonable exposure.

The snag is that I usually patrol the beach with my old 300mm f/4 manual focus lens (~450mm with the Pentax 1.5x crop factor) in the hope of capturing any interesting bird life. Even though the Pentax K5 has in-body shake-reduction I usually set the ISO to 400 and the aperture to f/11 to give a high shutter speed in bright sunshine. The H-65 is relatively quiet and so, by the time I realize it is approaching, fumble to change the camera settings and focus the lens the helicopter has passed. Today, we nearly got there – 1/125 second, quickly rotate the aperture ring to f/32, point and shoot!

Tags: Transport Helicopter Coast guard

Voters: pablophotographer, WestCamera, DicksPics and 28 more

Don't Miss Out On Top-Selling Deals From Park Cameras - Find Out More


26 May 2019 3:43AM
Interesting explanation. I'd say you did fine here. Enjoy your holiday weekend.Grin

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

26 May 2019 8:25AM
I think the 'enforced' crop works well, George - a fine capture.
An interesting narrative, too - particularly the section regarding shutter speed and rotor movement.
Have a great holiday weekend.
Never mind George it’s a cracking image what we photographers could do with is 4 pairs of hands.


dark_lord Plus
16 2.4k 630 England
26 May 2019 8:48PM
You've done well here George, the rotor blur is just spot on.

It looks like the use of f/32 has caused a slight overall softness, as it's not an optimum aperture. That said, details are clear, and a little extra sharpening will suffice for most uses. Talking of which, i'd apply two small stages of sharpening rather than one larger step.

I was only reading this morning of the dangers of beach umbrellas here.

Canonshots 9 201 13 United Kingdom
31 May 2019 9:57AM
Given the difficult circumstances you have done amazingly well. Perhaps it would be a good idea to carry two cameras, one set up for helicopters and the other for birds.
capto Plus
7 6.1k 15 United Kingdom
31 May 2019 3:46PM
Where would the fun be if we got every thing right first time? A nice shot with the rotor blur just right.Smile
Chinga Plus
9 3 2 United Kingdom
7 Jun 2019 12:21PM
Great well detailed image and a good write up.
Isabel GrinGrin
TrevBatWCC Plus
11 13 14 England
12 Jul 2019 2:44PM
Great shot, George. Reading your comments makes us think how we ever got shots in the days of film - no auto focus, no anti-shake reduction, you were stuck with the type of film in your camera and its ISO (or ASA as it was in those days). I ended up with two camera bodies, one loaded with print film, the other with Kodachrome 64, the latter for Camera Club competitions.
Trev 😀
17 Jul 2019 2:34AM
Great capture blue sky well done.
sparrowhawk Plus
11 279 2 United Kingdom
26 Jul 2019 7:29AM
great shot George ! !! try back button focusing much easier to do than half pressing the shutter button thank you for the award on my shiny starling

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.