Buzzing around in a helicopter

silo_aerial

fhrm13Today was the annual Far Hills Race Meeting in NJ where 30,000 people try to outdo themselves and put on extremely lavish tailgate parties on a hillside while steeplechase horse races are happening. I’ve photographed the event from the air for over 15 years, buzzing the horses and seeing how many people wave at me. Usually we take the door off the helicopter and I put on a climbing harness and hang out the side. Last year we used a chopper that had a rear door that slide open so I could hang out. I meet the helicopter at an airport about three miles from the event and when it landed today I wasn’t real happy. It wasn’t the same machine we used last year and all the doors were on. The pilot said they didn’t want to remove the door, he didn’t say why, so I was stuck shooting through a small sliding window. That took all the fun out of it, plus the ability to move around much. The pilot pointed out right away that it was a twin engine jet helicopter, which is good since there is no logical reason those things should fly. Even though I didn’t get to wear the harness, it was still fun zipping around the countryside.

On the way back to the airport, I saw this abandoned grain silo and small building with a road curving around. It looks pretty cool, I’ll have to try and find it from the ground.

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