Thursday, April 6, 2017


It started out as a medical aid request and ended up as a large animal rescue call-out. Except for the plane crash last month, it also ended up being one of the biggest media stories for our agency in the past year. Apparently, animal interest stories "have more legs" than human interest stories.

It started with a paramedic squad being dispatched for a medical aid request on a major street in town. When they arrived, they found no injured humans, but a horse trapped in a subsurface utility vault containing the pipes that supplied a nearby apartment complex. The vault was located at least partially in the sidewalk and was covered by some sort of boilerplate metal panels. The panels or supporting structure failed under the weight of the horse and it's rider. The rider was not injured in the mishap, but the horse ended up stuck in the vault. He was not happy about it.

The engine company that shares the station with the squad arrived and requested the Horse - Animal Rescue Team (H.A.R.T.)  The HART team is stationed at our USAR station and is staffed by USAR team members with additional, specialized, training. It was at about this time when I decided to respond and take some photos.

 Though not deep, the large piping in the vault kept the horse from gaining foothold. As time passed, he became more agitated. The HART guys decided that the best course of action would be to use a small crane or boom-truck as a high anchor point, then hoist and pivot the horse away from the vault. Once the plan was developed, the appropriate requests were made. There was a 45 minute eta on the crane and about a 30 minute eta on a veterinarian. The vet is needed to sedate the horse, which prevents further injury to it and reduces risk of injury to the rescuers.

The vet arrived and assessed the horse, the crane was on it's way. The horse appeared to be in significant distress. Every time it began to thrash, it's torso and limbs impacted the piping and other sharp metal objects in the vault. Honestly, it was awful to watch.

While waiting for the crane, the HART guys were able to remove the boilerplate covers from the vault and place straps around the horse. The vet returned to her truck to get medication and a helmet.

About this time, the horse decided that it had had enough. Somehow, it was able to gain enough footing to get close to getting out. The added pulling from guys on the straps and the rider on the halter provided enough energy to get the horse out of the vault.

The vet examined the horse and said that it appeared to be in pretty good shape, other than some lacerations that would need suturing.

I was amazed, I was thinking that things were not going to end well - I wasn't the only one to have that opinion BTW.  I am glad that I was wrong in my assessment, everybody left the scene pretty good about the way things ended up.

The PIO that night said his phone was ringing all night from the media wanting info. I received calls/messages from Fox News and the Associated Press wanting permission to use my photos.

You just never know what stories "have legs".

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Fun With a New Lens

I am going to Alaska and Canada later on in the year and I wanted to get a  long lens to capture images of nature that my existing lens collection cannot. Due to the almost 10% sales tax that is collected in my city, I ordered one from B&H photo in N.Y. City and waited for the U.P.S. guy. A few days later, the lens, a case of toilet paper and some K-Cup coffee show up on the porch. was having free shipping on the t.p. and the coffee - I can't drive to Costco without spending a ton, so on-line works for us. What a country.

I hadn't a chance to use the new lens until Fri. evening, after I got off from my part-time retirement gig. As nothing was burning ( a good thing) I headed out to the airport, Things were being set up for today's airshow, which presented some photo opportunities not usually available.

 WWII era SNJ Navy version of the AT-6

Another SNJ retracts the gear after lifting off.

Flight of three AT-6s/SNJs overhead. 400mm focal length.

Riverside P.D. Air 1 sneaks away from the P.D. hangar. Taken 
from across the field. This was cropped a little to add zoom.

Loadmaster on this C-17 shows some
folks around. I have flown on this same 
aircraft, an experience I will never forget.

A P-51 flew did a few low passes while I was there.

I am very happy with the lens, though I need to read the manual and practice with it to improve efficiency. You-tube may help with this as well. I am amazed at the level of sharpness it seems capable of, how fast it can focus I hope it works equally well shooting bears, moose and icebergs.

Thanks for reading,