Earlier in the year, I was up at Juanita Bay before things got too warm to make it enjoyable. We get plenty of ducks and coots on the bay but, on this occasion, there were a load of grebes on the water. The types of grebes I grew up with a larger than the ones I saw here. To be honest, I am not certain whether these were adults or juveniles because they seemed to have very small wings. Maybe that is how they are, but it could be that they weren’t fully grown. Maybe some of you know your birds well and can enlighten me.
Anyway, they would periodically get excited and start zipping around the bay. They would be flapping these small wings furiously and just skimming across the water until they found somewhere that they were happier to be. I don’t know whether this is just normal movement or that they were spooked by something but it was fascinating to watch them hurtling around.
As mentioned in other posts, I have been playing around with lower shutter speeds when photographing planes at Boeing Field. Getting a blurry background to emphasize the speed of the plane is the goal and it also removes some of the annoying distractions that a cluttered airfield can provide. I use filters to reduce the light in order to get the shutter speed down without having ridiculous apertures. Naturally, I end up with a bunch of blurred photos which get deleted but the selection process for the keepers is what this post is about.
I have some photography friends that don’t like the effect that the differential speeds of the parts of the airframe have on sharpness. A sharp nose might mean a pretty blurry tail since the relative motions as I pan are different. When I am filtering through the shots, I often “focus” on how the nose looks since it is like having the sharp eyes on a wildlife shot. I care less about the tail unless it looks terrible. However, getting the middle of the airframe sharp might result in a sharper overall shot even if the nose is a little blurry.
These are the things I was thinking about with these shots of a 777X landing at Boeing Field. The reason for the post is to see what matters to other people. These shots are a mix of which part of the airframe is sharp and which bits are more blurred. I may spend a fair bit of time deciding on which is best, but I wonder whether anyone looking at them is going to like the same things as me or will even care about it. Maybe the composition of the image is all that they care about, and the pixel peeping is irrelevant. I would really appreciate feedback if you have an opinion.
I think HMS Warrior has shown up in the blog before. During our trip to Portsmouth last year, I got a different perspective on it from previous visits because I went up the Spinnaker Tower. I did also take a look from ground level too, though. There were some people up in the rigging working on the ship. I don’t have a great time with heights so that would not be a good thing for me I suspect. An open door of a plane is fine but that is different.
The view from above is a great way to see the ship (or anything for that matter). It also gives you the background of the historic royal dockyard. Having a 60,000 ton aircraft carrier as a backdrop just goes to show how things have changed over the years. At one point, this would have been the pinnacle of warship design but now it is considered archaic. How things move on.
A while back I got a notification of an A320 departing SEA heading to Korea from an airline called AeroK. I didn’t have the chance to be there and wrote it off as a missed opportunity. Then, earlier this year I got a similar notification on a weekend, so I was able to make the trip down to see this depart. I hadn’t made the connection, but AeroK is Korea in reverse. It is a low-cost carrier that only recently started operations. I assume these were delivery flights for their new fleet since they won’t be operating to the US at this stage of their development. It would be good to see more of the planes at some point.
I’ve posted a few times about my experience with the drag racing at Pacific Raceway. One of the things that I particularly was fascinated by was the surface of the strip itself. I mentioned before the machines that they used for conditioning this surface to ensure that there was maximum traction between the tires and ground. Periodically, the staff would come on to the track to take samples and measurements to understand exactly how it was performing. What photos don’t show you, but video can, is just how anything on the surface would stick. Only when you heard people walking along the track could you get the sound of their shoes sticking to the ground. Here is a video to explain what I mean.
There are a few planes that showed up at the Concrete Fly In that I particularly liked and one of those was a Helio Courier. This is a beast of a plane but one that has some impressive field performance. The example that showed up was completely unpainted which made it look even better (plus shaved some pounds off to improve that performance even more). However, I was a little troubled by some of the flying. The pilot took it up for a flight while we were there, and they climbed up above the field. From the ground it is always hard to judge accurately what is happening so I will caveat all of this by saying it is how it appeared to me.
I don’t know what the winds were like aloft, but they seemed to be doing some slow flight above the field. There also seemed to be a bit of wing rocking going on as they maneuvered, and I did wonder just how close to the stall they were flying. Things might have been perfectly safe, but it did look odd from the ground. Then there was the landing. I don’t know whether they intended to land on the grass beside the runway but, as far as I am aware, that is not a designated operating area. I think it is used for taxiing. Anyway, they landed off the side of the runway and ran out on this area of grass. Was that intentional? Sort of didn’t look like it but I can’t say for certain. Was it a good idea? Probably not.
Let’s put all of that aside for now. The aircraft is a fine machine, it carries a decent payload, it can get in and out of short strips and it is not so common so all of that adds up to a cool aircraft to see up close – thankfully not too close!
In a previous post, I showed some construction work underway on a project I am involved with. This involves building a long span concrete bridge and the first steps are drilling the shafts into which the concrete will be poured to form the base for the columns upon which the bridge will ultimately rest. Watching this from a distance, you don’t quite get the scale of what is involved. However, when on site, you really get close to the heavy machinery that is necessary for this type of project. I thought I would share some shots of this serious gear since I was able to get access to it.
While the 787-10 was never built at Everett, there have been a few that have come here for completion before delivery to their airlines. One such jet was for Saudia or Saudi Arabians Airlines. It was painted in a scheme that was a close resemblance to their livery from the 80s and 90s. I had thought that it was a retro effort on their part, but I have since heard that this might actually be the livery for the fleet going forwards.
Whether that is the case or not, I did take me back to a shot I got in 1988. I was working for the CAA in the UK on noise measuring duties and got to spend a week inside the fence at Heathrow taking readings of departing aircraft. One of these was a 747-300 of Saudia. I had my camera with me that week and was able to get photos between taking readings. I thought it might be interesting to compare the old Saudia livery with the newer version.
When I was a lot younger, I watched wildlife programs on the BBC. There was a film maker that was on my local BBC region called Simon King. He graduated to working in the Maasai Mara where he was on with another photographer and film maker who had been there for many years. His name is Jonathan Scott. He still lives in Kenya and, with his wife Angela who is also a photographer, can be seen out and about in the Mara covering the animals. I was really pleased when we came across the pair of them. He was driving their Land Rover with his wife in the back shooting out the side. He had a camera mounted close but too. I waved at him at one point and he smiled and waved back. Had a bit of a fanboy moment!
A couple of years ago, I took part in the FOD walk that King County Airport (aka Boeing Field) held. They did it again last year, but I didn’t know about it until after it happened. This year I saw advance notice again, so I signed up to have another visit. The first time I did this, I wasn’t sure what was allowable so took a small camera with me. I needn’t have worried so, this time, I took better gear with me. I also recognized that the FOD walk is totally unimportant and that it is just a community engagement effort so, this time, I didn’t really make much effort to look for FOD (although I did keep an eye out as I walked just in case). Instead, I spent more time enjoying the unusual opportunity to walk down the middle of a 10,000’ runway.
This year I started at the south end rather than the north. This meant down by the Boeing military ramp which is considered off limits for photos while taking part. Everything else is fair game, though. We walk half the length of the runway and meet the other half of the group as they have come from the other end. Then we had a photo opportunity in the middle of the field with some fire trucks as background.
The short runway remains in use while all of this goes on, so you do get some opportunities to get some shots of moving planes every once in a while. We had a couple of PC-12s depart along with a Caravan. I also got a good look at some of the aircraft parked at the FBO. An Air Canada A320 was there, as was a Marine Corps Hornet. Plenty of other jets too and, on the other side, the usual line up of 737s undergoing pre-delivery tests prior to heading to their airlines. The airport management team was keeping an eye on us as people were taking their various selfies. I’ll probably do this again if I can.