I left COP Mizan today and returned to FOB Apache. It was the routine thing, sit on the HLZ for a couple of hours waiting for the aircraft. Almost all of my flights have been on contracted civilian aircraft. I have only taken a couple flights on military birds. But either way, the windows in the aircraft are generally scratched, dirty plexiglass so pictures usually are not that great. In fact, I started packing my camera in my ruck instead of keeping it out hoping for a good shot.
So, there I was lounging on the rocks against my ruck when the UH-60 Blackhawks came swooping over the ridgeline towards the Mizan HLZ. As they circled in their approach I quietly cursed myself for not having my camera out to take a couple of shots at the dramatic entrance. Then I noticed they had the windows out! Double damn me! Of course my camera was tucked snugly in my ruck when I was finally given an excellent opportunity to get some aerial shots without a dirty barrier in the way!
Moving as quickly as I could, I got my gear on and made my way to the aircraft. I grabbed a door seat, threw my ruck on floor and proceeded to get the camera out with lightening speed (that might be a slight over dramatization, but let’s go with it). Luckily I was fast enough to have the camera ready & my seatbelt fastened before we took off.
I was a little disappointed that FOB Apache was the first stop, so the flight was short, but I think I got some pretty decent pictures. Thanks to some tips from some real photographers I was also able to drop a little of the bland, flat haze out of the pictures. Plus, flying with the windows out is the next best thing to flying with the doors open & it has been a long time since I have had a chance to do that! An excellent way to end a great trip to COP Mizan.
Hope you enjoy.