This weekend marks the 100th anniversary of the first flight of a marine plane and the mark of marine aviation’s beginning.  As part of the celebration, four marine helicopters arrived in town today and will make the Village School their home for the weekend.  I captured one as it circled Abbot Hall prior to landing and then visited the helicopters with my son in the afternoon.  After seeing them displayed, I decided to try my luck at photographing them at sunset.

The grounds were still well attended as the sun went down and I waited patiently (drenched in DEET and swatting bugs) for the crowd to clear and the lights to turn on.  There are two lights set up at the school and I had envisioned an image with the massive CH-53 backlit by them.  As it turned out, I had exactly two frames in which I could snag this image and it came out even better than I had pictured.

By using a wide angle lens and aiming it up, I was able to bring in some distortion and make the blade overhead appear more prominent and serve as a leading line into the frame.  The refueling port also became elongated and seems quite imposing in this view.

If you haven’t yet visited the helicopters, make sure you do.  You have until Sunday morning to see this amazing display and speak to the Marines who pilot them.

And here is the fly by of a UH-34 earlier in the day