Friday, April 04, 2008

Miss Saigon

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.

69 comments:

Old Wom Tigley said...

Thank you David for giving us much more than a sky shot today... I find this of great interest.
I will now post your links as Sky Watch is 'Blowing In The Wind' as I write this...
Tom

quintarantino said...

I'm like Tom says ... not only you give us some more great photos about a Huey Bell but also some very good info.
And I also liked the last photo.
Very touching.
I would also like to thank your kind comments and visit to my blog.

Daniel J Santos said...

More than a Sky watch, one excellent document, one excellent post.

jennifer h said...

This post is a tribute to all the veterans of Vietnam, my husband among them. (Though he would hate my saying that...whenever there's a Veteran's Day or Memorial Day tribute in church, and they ask all the veterans to stand, he never does.)

It sounds like your friends possess that same dignity.

Petunia said...

Excellent post:)
Great shot and like the other guys wrote before me: interesting post!

Petunia's SWF post

Dick said...

Interesting post and excellent pictures.

Hilary said...

That's a lovely way to honour those who served. Wonderful images and background information.

Travis said...

This is a wonderful tribute. My uncle served in Vietnam.

Thanks.

SandyCarlson said...

That's really something, David. That's one heck of a machine. Glad you had those minutes up your sleeve!

A.Bananna said...

wonderful!!!!!
It was very touching.

ellen b said...

Glad it was standing still for these. What a great story and tribute to go along with your sky this week. Enjoy your day with your camera by your side! :)

DeeMom said...

The Huey has a distinct sound; you know it well before you can see it …
They fly over our farm often on maneuvers…
Great pictures,

Speaking for my Sweetie, also a veteran of Vietnam Thank You

Dottie said...

These are awesome!

Snap Catch said...

Wow! fantastic shots! mine's up too hope you can drop by.

Luiz Ramos said...

Great opportunity. Great shots.

Berit said...

Interesting, and exellent photo!

Mushy said...

Thanks for the tribute David. Although I never got/had to ride in one or even guard one, I do understand that the Huey will always be the most recognized symbol of the war in Vietnam.

I watched them left off at Da Nang with prisoners on board, fly out over the China Sea, and return empty. Some say it was a way of interrogation - ask a question and if no answer shove one out and the other spills his guts, but I was never aboard to witness this. Sounds fool proof to me though!

So we can say they saved countless lives in more ways than one.

Carletta said...

LOVE that first shot!
Always a treat to visit here.

Marie said...

Great photo series!

John said...

A great interesting post David!
Excellent shots as always.

Kostas said...

Marvellous post, with beautiful photographs and with a lot of information!
Nice weekend!

Mae said...

oh how this bring back memories of our military days. As usually your postings are very interesting.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Taking your camera everywhere certainly works for you. I bet I pass up great photos all the time. You seem to see them everywhere!

K. alias Bear-Mom said...

wow how militaristic is your post today, but it is amazing how beautiful can be also technical stufff.....

imac said...

Ah David, glad I didnt post my Helicoptor sky.

What shots you produce, fantastic.

Come Visit my skies from Canvey Island.

CrazyCath said...

I had noticed the wire in the first shot but assumed it to be part of the helicopter. I didn't notice the rest!
A very interesting post - and an interesting sky!
I love the statues in the last shot, and the title of them.
It says it all.
Thanks for this.

Colleen said...

Cool photo of the chopper David! I think I'm done with my blogging break!

Anne-Berit said...

Interesting Sky Watch:o)

Pernille's ting og tang said...

I like them all. Wonderful photos, but the last one was very moving.

fishing guy said...

David: Great post and great pictures. I bow to the master from Aussie Land.

holly said...

this is EXACTLY the way i have displayed *my* helicopters out the back. you do NOT wanna get those propellers going on a windy day. someone could lose a ... well a whole someone.

sadly, mine has no statue underneath. that's maybe a project for next weekend. i'll see what the kids can do with some playdoh.

dot said...

What a really great post and a wonderful tribute to the Vietnam veterans! Your photos are always very special.

Lori said...

I've been in a helicopter once when I was a teenager.

Lovely sky watch, David.

guild-rez said...

Thank you for a great story and great pictures.

-Cheers.

Dan Mega said...

Awesome! I love stuff like this!

napaboaniya said...

I'm always learning new stuffs here. Thanks for sharing all these information and history. I like the last statue, it has got this sad and united feel in it :)
Happy Weekend David.

p/s: There's Formula Drift in SG this month. I'm going!!! Woohoo!!!

Anita said...

I enjoyed this post, as well as your photos... Someone I hold very dear did two tours in Vietnam...

my SWF is up at
http://prairievisions.blogspot.com/

leslie said...

Amazing shot, as usual, David. But most of all, I appreciate your honouring all those vets who served in an atrocious war. Your photos alone always tell a story, but this time the photos needed a few words to go along with them. Those words and photos are a wonderful tribute.

Autumn said...

wow those are really awesome shots. Excellent post

Travis said...

Great info, wonderful photos. A very nice post. Thanks for sharing with us.

D... said...

I love your take on this week's Sky Watch. Your post was very touching. You did produce a snappy salute.

Lilli & Nevada said...

what a nice shot of the chopper and the sky. And some interesting information.

granmal said...

This is a great post. The Huey looks great with those clouds above. A nice tribute to those who serve and have served.

Lyn said...

you have some wonderful photos!

quilly said...

Great photos and an excellent tribute.

Sharon said...

Wonderful tribute and interesting information.

David said...

That chopper sure does look impressive! I like the second shot best, it looks almost as if the machine's in the air and bearing down on you!

Thank you also for the tribute to those who served. It is important for us to remember them, and this is certainly an appropriate place to do so.

Cheers,

David Webb: Pictures of Nature

Colleen said...

yeah, me too! I got a lot of catching up to do!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Wow, great shots and a fantastic post.

alexander said...

A fantastic post! Nice captures! I really like that first and the last photo. :)

Have a wonderful weekend.

Alexander
Alex's World! - http://www.kakinan.com/alex

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Absolutely fascintating post David. Brilliant photos, can't wait to show them to the farmer later - he loves helicopters. We have an RAF base not far from here where the Rescue Helicopter is kept. It is a huge yellow effort as it flies incredibly low over our farm house. I will blog about it one day, you have once again inspired me!

CJ xx

Shrinky said...

Fascinating post and wonderful shots as always, David.

Mike said...

Nice shots.

Andrea said...

Great post and great pictures.

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marcia said...

Wow cool David You got some great shots today, and a different perspective.. I caught the fighter jet picture I posted today they are related . I also love the last one.

BRUNO said...

That's an AWESOME angle, on that first pic! Made my neck-hairs stand up! If you were "in-need", that big red cross was the prettiest site one could ask for!

Indeed, as many others have stated, the Huey has it's own distinct sound---one that you'll never forget.

But at least this one is now in a more peaceful setting. Thanks, ya' down-under dude.......!

Kim said...

Great shots, and a nice tribute :) Have a great weekend :)

T.R. said...

What a great twist on skywatch. I always enjoy your site. Mine is a bit metaphorical this morning.

Mima said...

What a great tribute to those who served. I loved the first shot, and thought that the sculpture was great.

joan said...

Nice tribute and great photos! Have a good weekend David.

Misty Dawn said...

Awesome photos as always David! (and wonderful information to go along with them)

Paulie said...

Excellent photo tribute and essay to those who served. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful sky too!

the teach said...

David I'm blown away with this incredible post! Just marvelous! :)

Denise BC said...

Very nice, great picture, good Skywatch.
Denise BC

Lana G! said...

David this was just awesome! What wonderful photos and I too really like the last picture. Very touching!

andrée said...

We have a helicopter like that downstate and I always mean to get down there to take photos and never do. These are great shots.

sex said...
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edison said...
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