Thursday, September 17, 2009


Since I bought the new Canon back in July, I have been taking a lot of photos. I carry the camera nearly everywhere I go, including work. My wife calls it my man purse, as I can't leave it in the jeep (no top on the jeep) so I just carry it.

As I am forced to use the shotgun approach to photography, I capture a lot of images, most of which are just fair or worse. This practice fills up the memory card fairly quickly, requiring me to sort through the images, select a few to print and a few to publish. Far more get saved than printed or published.

As the internet was down at work for the last few days, I spent my spare time doing housework on my hard drive. Below are a few images that I thought some of you might find interesting.

Make sure you look at the last three.

When the shift starts, the engineer goes out to the apparatus floor to check out the unit, while I start the A.M. paperwork.The boot makes coffee. A few minutes later, my engineer enters the office. "Joe, we got a problem". The result? A drive to the shop and an hour waiting around until they can break loose a mechanic to remove the bolt in our tire and make the repair. It was over one hundred degrees when this photo was taken.

Who says medics aren't good with their hands? One of my medics fabricated this cup holder out of an old no- parking sign. He did it while we were at the shop, waiting for a repair to be made on our engine.

The cup holder painted and installed. Strong work.

My firefighter teaching our medic basic pump operation. Operating the pump is a learned skill that takes considerable training before becoming proficient. Our agency prefers pump panels located in the center of the engine rather than on the side. It offers a better view of the fire ground and is safer to operate the pump while on the highway. I like the way this photo turned out.

Whoops. A worker at one of our local factories backed into a fire hydrant, knocking it over. The resulting geyser was sixty feet tall. Although we couldn't get a pitot gauge on the stream, we figured a 110 psi residual on an 8" open butt (more or less) that works out to around 4200 gallons per minute. We had to wait for the truckies to come down the hill and bring us the water key before we could shut it off. As this was a private hydrant, the flow was metered and the factory will be billed. Several cars were flooded as well.

This is a picture of an oil well servicing rig, taken from below. It was taken in the late afternoon, just after the crew had quit for the day. The rig is servicing a hydraulic rod-lift pump. You can see the neighboring well unit on the right side of the picture. The wells on this site are typically 4000 to 5000 feet deep.

This is a shot of an oil well cellar. It contains about 20 wells. The apparatus for the well servicing rig can be seen on the right hand side of the cellar, about halfway down. I took these while performing oil well inspections a few months ago.

A shot taken in a neighboring city, right after the main body of fire was knocked down. They took the hoselines through the rear patio door and hit it pretty good. Right after this was taken, the truckies went to the roof and opened it up while the engine crews pulled ceilings. Had I arrived a few minutes earlier, I would have had some great shots. As it was, I was lucky to get this one. It was a lot darker than this shot indicates, most of the shots after this were either grainy, blurry or dark.

My station has a large hummingbird population. I bought a feeder two years ago after one built a nest on a fire sprinkler head inside the apparatus floor. That nest hatched two eggs which reached maturity. After the babies left, we moved the feeder outside. It is not unusual to have three or four birds feeding at one time.

When down south, we like to hit the beach. One of our favorite eateries is in Newport Beach and is called the Crab Cooker. It has been there forever, rumor has it that they used to buy fish from St. John. We like the Blue Plate Special, which includes clam chowder, fish salad and coffee, all  for a little over five bucks. You see all kinds of people there, from Schmoes like us to old money Newport millionares. 
"Not Even a Plaque"
 This is a photo of the burned out house where five U.S. Forest Service firefighters died during the Esperanza fire of October 2006. It is a remote area, sparsely populated. I drove there looking for this house, hoping to find a cross or  memorial of some kind,  honoring  those fallen. I made it to the gate shown in the picture and found nothing. Maybe there is one nearby, but I was UTL. As the area is so remote I didn't want to intrude, it seemed like most people wanted privacy. The state highway leading into the area is named "The Esperanza Firefighters Memorial Highway", maybe that will have to do. I was hoping for more.
This shot gives an idea of the terrain surrounding the house where the tragedy occured. The structure where the living trees are is the burned out remains of the house. The fire started at the edge of the community pictured in the background. 
The sign commemorating the five fallen firefighters. It's hard to believe that it's been almost three years since the Esperanza fire occured.
Thanks for reading,


  1. Capt. Schmoe -

    Fun pix!

    Do you take requests? An entry someday about that pump panel would be pretty cool.

  2. Nice! What an eclectic group of shots! love the hummingbirds and the panel looks a bit like slot machines lined up in a casino!
    Enjoy the day!

  3. Great pictures! completely justifies a man purse. It's not a fanny pack though? right??

  4. Great Pictures! Definatly justifies a man purse. Just NOT a fanny pack. It's not a fanny pack, right?

  5. Oh no, its a purse. Complete with a carrying handle and a shoulder strap.

    I used to carry a fanny pack, back when I was in investigations. Then there was that incident at the Christmas party and the department took my weapon away. I haven't had a fanny pack since.

    Glad y'all like the pics though.

    Thanks for commenting

  6. Cap,
    Thanks for your time and thoughts. I to went to the spot where E-57 was over-run. I was there one year after and went through the same process, the same thoughts. I too am surprised that there is nothing more to honor the crew of BDF E 57.

    You, Happy Medic and Motorcop write some absolutely on-the-neial-head stuff. Keep up the great work.

    EZ FF/PM, So Cal

  7. I carry my Canon 10D with me a lot too. It is a huge camera, but you cannot beat the images it produces! Therefore worth the extra effort. I used to carry a digital point and shoot camera in my pocket but it broke. I need to replace it.

    Great shots, interesting post!

  8. Totally love the photos! I can't afford a digital SLR, but I snap away with my cameraphone.

    Keep snapping and posting!

    PS you are going on my blog role...