When professional photographer Rich Shaw realised the extent of the Crestwood/Lake Innes bushfire his instinct kicked in and he headed for the fire ground.
His intention was to capture the moment and convey the emotion involved in any bushfire or crisis.
He got what he bargained for, and a little bit more.
The result of his efforts will be on display in a special photo exhibition entitled aerial fire fighters at the Hastings District Flying Club's open day on Sunday November 24.
Rich plans to have six to eight of his best photographs in the display.
"When the Crestwood fires took place I went out there with the plan of taking some shots of the smoke curling up and perhaps the damage," he said.
"But when I got out there what struck me was all the aircraft flying around. That's when I thought, well, that is a good thing to try and capture.
"Fortunately I managed to grab a few decent shots of the planes and the helicopters in action.
"It ended up a way of gratitude to them; you get an overwhelming sense of thank you to these people (the pilots) for their work," he said.
"I really wanted to show how brave and how courageous they were with their flying."
The photos capture the very large air tanker dropping fire retardant, helicopters dumping their water or picking up water from the Emerald Downs Golf Club's dams.
It ended up a way of gratitude to them; you get an overwhelming sense of thank you to these people (the pilots) for their work.Rich Shaw
Rich said he spent a full day capturing the event.
He said it was an experience watching the coordination between all the aircraft.
"It was amazing to watch the pilots and low they were flying to dump the water," he said.
"The spotter plane would lead the way for the larger planes while the helicopters would circle in support.
"It was a wonderful experience from a terrible event."
Rich said he was looking to produce a calendar and to auction some of the photos as a fundraiser for the Rural Fire Service and the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
He hoped his photos were a way of saying thank you to the volunteers and fire fighters for the number of live and homes they saved.
Along with the Richscape Photography exhibition, the open day will also feature static displays depicting club activities and history along with information about the recreational aviation flying school.
The flying club has been in operation for 61 years, said Flying Club president Rod Davison.
The flying club has been in operation for 61 years.Rod Davison
The club will showcase its latest aircraft acquisition, the Sling 2. Since its arrival in June the Sling is proving very popular with both student and seasoned pilots.
To cater for demand a second Sling is being shipped from South Africa.
Club members own a wide variety of aircraft which will also be on static display.
These will include factory and home-built aircraft as well as the historic De Havilland Chipmunk and Australian built Victa Airtourer.
Aircraft of a smaller scale will also be present with both plastic and radio controlled models on display.
Port Macquarie Helicopters will conduct scenic flights for those keen to experience Port Macquarie from the air while the HDFC will be selling their Discovery Flight Voucher.
The open day is a free event at Port Macquarie Airport on Sunday November 24 from 9.30am to 3pm. Food and drink will be available throughout the day.
Further information about the Hastings District Flying Club can be obtained from their website www.hdfc.com.au
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