Watching a Helicopter Take Off
Watching Takeoff Preparations ( preparations to take off, unfortunately, without us ) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 55 mm — 1/750 sec, f/2.8, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos
Watching Takeoff Preparations
( preparations to take off, unfortunately, without us )
Practicing for the expected loudness -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 26 mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Practicing
for the expected loudness

The other day when Anthony and I did some local hiking that ended up at the back entrance to the Kiyomizu Temple, we got to watch a helicopter take off from the helipad at Shogunzuka, the top of one of Kyoto's “Eastern Mountains”.

Besides a helipad and hiking trails, Shogunzuka offers some nice views of Kyoto, but unless you're at the overlook, it feels like you're in the middle of nowhere...

Surrounded by Mountains -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 26 mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Surrounded by Mountains
Getting Impatient -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 38 mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Getting Impatient

This helipad is just a few minutes' drive from the Kyoto Westin Miyako Hotel, generally considered to be the best hotel in Kyoto. Until the government's Kyoto State Guest House was built a few years ago, U.S. presidents and other heads of state would stay here when they visited Kyoto. As I write up this post this evening, I expect that it's housing much of the overflow for the G8 summit tomorrow, although I expect that Condoleezza Rice gets to stay at the Guest House.

Anyway, because of this helipad's proximity to the hotel, I've heard that it gets a lot of use by visiting celebrities and others flush with cash. I chatted with the guy servicing the helicopter, who said that a round-trip from Kansai International Airport (exactly 50 miles away) would run about $5,000. Wow.

A friend once met Tom Cruise here (not long before Tom dove completely off the deep end of the crazy pool), but no such excitement for us: this helicopter was being hired by the electric company to inspect power lines, and they had stopped here to eat their boxed lunches. It's a Bell 206B3 JetRanger III registered as JA6192 (which I put for the search engines, because some people like finding pictures of aircraft they've seen).

Hands Prepared just in case it starts up -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 55 mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Hands Prepared
just in case it starts up

Once it did start up, it turns out that it was not really very loud. I was rather surprised. I guess it's small. I told Anthony that he didn't need to cover his ears, but he was scared that it would be too loud, so kept his ears covered...

Now It's Real! -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 55 mm — 1/100 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Now It's Real!
Watching The Blades Spin Up from a safe distance -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm — 1/90 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Watching The Blades Spin Up
from a safe distance
Exciting! Fun! ( but not really very loud ) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm — 1/125 sec, f/8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Exciting! Fun!
( but not really very loud )
Thar She Goes -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 31 mm — 1/125 sec, f/10, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Thar She Goes

I had to stop down on the aperture to get a slow enough shutter speed to show some blade movement. Even at 1/250th of a second, the blades look essentially motionless. I was surprised at that as well.

They rotated to the left and moved out and up, and the pilot waved at Anthony, which I thought was a kind gesture. They then circled way around and disappeared...

Bye-Bye -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm — 1/125 sec, f/7.1, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Bye-Bye

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