Yes, This Huey Does Sometimes Get Dewy
Familiar sight, isn't it? But you can relax - I didn't risk life and limb to take this shot of a Huey chopper. Sit back and let me tell you the story ...
I was driving through Dandenong, in southeast Melbourne - and I had a few minutes up my sleeve. As always, I had my Pentax K100D on the passenger seat beside me and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to shoot a quick series of photographs for Sky Watch Friday.
This UH1H chopper - known universally as the Huey - looks fairly dramatic in this shot against the late evening sky, and I thought it would be the perfect way to honour the many people who served in Vietnam. Among my blogging friends are several who did a tour of duty in Vietnam, so this post is for them. I don't need to name each one. They know who they are.
Yes, the chopper looks as though it was hovering above my head, but there's a very interesting background to this photo essay. The chopper is actually a static display. Look carefully at the first frame and you'll see a slender wire on each side of the fuselage. The wires serve a specific purpose. They hold the main rotor securely in place, so that it doesn't spin in the strong breeze.
If you pay close attention to the second frame, it seems like I've got the balance of the subject completely out of kilter. But I've framed the shot deliberately, to make the best use of the silhouette against a patchy sky - and also to reveal, at the bottom of the shot, the metal framework that supports the chopper a few metres above the ground.
Here in Australia, we have a veterans' organisation called the Returned Services League, or RSL. The Huey is the centrepiece of a Vietnam memorial that was unveiled on 30 April 2005, the anniversary of the fall of Saigon. The chopper was donated by the US Army and, as newspapers reported at the time, the Dandenong RSL paid $120,000 to have it shipped halfway across the world.
Below the helicopter is a sculpture by Melbourne artist Lis Johnson. The sculpture is called Side By Side and if you look at the photograph below, you'll understand how it gets its name. Civilians aren't very good when it comes to producing snappy salutes, but this is my way of doing it.
For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch Friday.