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Shooting with the U.S. Coast Guard

Good day military aviation enthusiasts! Rich Cooper here from the Centre of Aviation Photography (COAP), I'm a relatively new addition to the FPP team and this is my first post. Going forward, I plan to give you a tale from a shoot related to the current Podcast episode. Sometimes this might not be possible if I've not shot the episode's subject (and my travel factors may also be an issue on timely delivery sometimes), but after you've listened to the episode we hope you'll enjoy hearing about a photographic engagement with the chosen subject.


So... The US Coast Guard! Who's loving the episode? Excellent as always. I undertook a pretty major assignment with the 'Coastie' guys n gals at Kodiak, Alaska, at the end of last year. It's a totally wild place! There's nowhere quite like it as a posting and the aircrew and technicians have to be super experienced before they even arrive on the island to start flying, due to the extreme conditions and landscape. Seriously brave dudes. My assignment there was an extension of the COAP photography trip to Alaska, and we spent three days on the island shooting USCG operations. The weather was crazy bad for the first day - so bad that we couldn't even leave Anchorage - but then cleared to form two days of beautiful sun, the last of the year in fact (and this was September). The air quality was excellent so this meant that the shots would be crystal clear, and I used everything from a 10mm, through wide-angle zooms (24-120mm and 28-300mm), through tele zooms (80-400mm) and a fixed 500mm prime, all swapping about on two bodies (Nikon D5 and Nikon D7200). I also took a set of lights with me too for some of the special crew set-ups. I interviewed two H-60 pilots, an H-60 technician (the guys in the back), a Rescue Swimmer (the guys on the end of the winch), a H-65 pilot and a C-130J pilot and Mission Commander for an upcoming feature in a few different magazines. Every single person was awesome, just so enthusiastic about their job and making a difference - especially in the SAR role. Interestingly, around 90% of those I spoke to had a real, genuine, enthusiast-level of interest in aircraft - it really isn't just a job.

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