El Cariso Hot Shots, Photography, and Sadowski

The El Cariso Hot Shots are having a reunion today and tomorrow. I wish I could be there–I wish them well and congratulate them on a great history.

I recently reestablished contact with another El Cariso veteran, Tom Sadowski, from the early 1970’s. We worked on the crew for 2 or 3 years together. A few weeks ago I started a project to digitize some of the thousands of slides I began taking a long time ago. I took the photo below of Tom in 1975 at Mt. Laguna, California. Tom (we sometimes called him Ski) is alive and well and living in Maine. He recently designed the commemorative logo (at the top of this post) for the crew. Tom taught me a lot about photography.

Tom Sadowski
Tom Sadowski in 1975. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

He was always interested in heavy-duty machinery. We were on a fire in Wyoming back then, and Tom had climbed on top of an old, beat-up water tender to check it out. I was taking a picture of him with my old beat-up Argus 35mm camera. When I pressed the shutter, I could hear and feel the guts of the camera come apart. I shook it and it rattled–never a good sign. I blamed Tom then for breaking my camera. I still do. I took a picture of him and he literally broke the damn camera.

Since then I have gone through many cameras. Minolta, Nikon, Canon, Nikon, Canon, Canon, Canon, and Canon. I’m planning on sticking with Canon, in case you didn’t guess. These days I’m using a Canon EOS-20D. I like it a lot, but it’s big and heavy as hell, at least with the EFS 17-85 lens that I usually have on it.

El Cariso Hot Shot Reunion

My old crew, the El Cariso Hot Shots, is having a reunion April 11-12 at Temecula, CA. I won’t be able to attend, but I dug out some of my old photos from 1970-1972. If you click on them, you can see slightly enlarged versions.

Doing PT’s in 1971. We had to wear our boots while we ran. Don’t ask me why.

Dining at fire camp.

Taken in 1972 on the San Bernardino NF after we got chased out of the fire and hung out at a safety zone.

Barry Koncinsky running the chain saw.

A TBM making a drop near our fireline in 1972.

Below are some much more recent photos of El Cariso, from YouTube. Be warned it has some loud music.

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