Salesforce Park

During our visit to San Francisco, some friends told us to check out Salesforce Park.  This is a park that has been built on top of the transit center in the heart of the city.  The transit center is, by demand, a large area so the space on top of it makes for a decent area.  The park was fun to wander around.  It is surrounded by some interesting buildings which will warrant their own posts in due course.

There are seating areas, children’s play areas, an amphitheater, a dome over an atrium for the transit center itself and plenty of plants.  The plant beds are broken down into categories covering different types and plants and different origins for the plants.  There are sculptures around the park including one that is a series of water jets.  These are triggered by sensors in the transit center such that, as a bus drives beneath them, they squirt up.  A bus driving the length of the lane beneath has a sequence of jets that will ripple along the sculpture.  We were there when one bus passed beneath and, having been hoping for some action (aside from the occasional random jet of water), we were almost caught out when the wave of jets came by.

If we hadn’t been told about the park, I would never have known.  Even when we got to the entrance area, it was a little inconspicuous.  It is worth a visit if you are passing by.  There is also a more interesting entrance than the elevators but that will have to wait for another post.

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VC-10 at Duxford

Duxford’s VC-10 has been there for many years.  When I first went there in the 80s, it was on display in the same BOAC colors that it currently wears.  However, I think, judging by the condition it is in now, it has undergone a repaint since I first saw it.  The VC-10 is something I didn’t see much of in civilian service.  The RAF examples where the ones I saw the most.  The Duxford example is a great way to see how they were in their original incarnation.

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Frost on the Leaves

Early morning walks after a cold night mean frost everywhere.  I guess I am accustomed to frost on hard surfaces but softer items, for some reason, didn’t seem like things that would have frost on them.  Plants are not warm blooded so why wouldn’t the frost gather on the leaves too.  This is probably obvious to everyone but me but I was quite taken with the frost crystals on the leaves.

Aside from the mere presence of frost, I was also impressed by the shapes that the frost crystals had developed in to.  They were quite exaggerated and a decent size compared to the leaves themselves.  Since it had been a cold and calm morning, getting shots of the leaves was easier than normal since usually the gentlest of breezes will cause motion in the leaves making a sharp shot hard to achieve.  The stillness was my friend (and also made for a more comfortable walk since, without wind, the low air temperatures were not uncomfortable).

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Renton Flight Line

The flight line near the runway at Renton is always worth a look.  The majority of the planes (when production is normal) will be airliners but one spot at the south end is likely to have a P-8 Poseidon in place.  Such was the case this morning with a US Navy example heading the line.

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Framlingham Castle

Suffolk is full of castles.  A lot of groups fell out with each other and figured that castles were a necessary way to make sure you could take care of yourself.  Framlingham is one of the more substantial ones that I have seen.  There are multiple towers that surround the top of the hill with stout walls between them.  It would be interesting to see what it looked like when the castle was the center of the community.

It dominates the surrounding area as you would expect of a castle.  You can walk all along the top of the walls to complete a circle of the fortress and check out both the surrounding countryside and the large interior.  I’m not a huge fan of heights so wandering around on the top of the walls is something I do with some trepidation.  However, you go to these places to see everything so I’m not going to wimp out because of a little vertical drop!

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The 767 That Never Was

Prior to the KC-46 Pegasus, Boeing had another go at selling the 767 to the USAF as a tanker.  The aircraft that they had intended to be the solution at that point was a different configuration to what ultimately made its way in to the inventory.  They went as far as building a speculative airframe for the project.  However, when the project was aborted (for reasons that are far too complex for a simple blog post), the airframe lay unfinished.  It was stored for a while at Paine Field before eventually being scrapped.  Here is a shot of it prior to its demise.

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Port Alberni River Mist

The drive across Vancouver Island on our way back to the ferry was exceedingly pretty.  The temperature in the passes was pretty low and what I imagine happens is that the mist freezes on to the trees.  The result was these beautiful white trees looking like they had been created as some Christmas decoration.  We were on a main road so no chance to stop and photograph them but, as we got down to Port Alberni, the mist was still around.

As we crossed the river, we got a view along the water between the trees with the mist hanging over the surface.  It looked really beautiful.  I stopped further along the road where I found a gap in the trees and could get down to the bank.  Once out of the car, I figured that the cold temperatures could be handled for a short while and walked back to the bridge.  We had a ferry to catch so I wasn’t going to spend too long exploring but this might prove to be a very photogenic place to explore if you had the time.

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Haneda Seems to Be Home to Special Liveries

I spent a little time at Haneda on a recent trip to Tokyo.  It was not an ideal day for photography but it had its possibilities.  One thing that really surprised me was that I seemed to see a bunch of planes with special paint schemes.  I don’t know whether Japanese airlines just have a lot of specials or whether Haneda is the place that they all come but I saw a lot.  One of them was from China too.  Here are some shots of the specials from that day excluding one that will have its own post.

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Smith Tower

For a long time, Smith Tower was the tallest building west of the Mississippi.  Now there are many buildings in Seattle alone that are taller than it is but it is still a building that stands out.  However, I had never visited it prior to some friends coming to town and suggesting we check it out.  The bottom of the building has a series of exhibits showing the history of the building and how it was used.  Then you take the elevator to the top of the tower and the lounge that is up there.

The lounge has some old wood paneling and it has a bar and food service so we took the option of getting some lunch while we were up there.  In addition, there is a balcony that wraps around the top of the tower so you can make a circumnavigation and check out the views in all directions.  The tower is at the opposite end of the town from the Space Needle so you get a very different perspective on the city.  Also, you are outside with just fencing between you and the outside so taking pictures is a lot easier with no screens or windows to navigate.

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Dreamliner Wings Moving to the Factory

I have shown a bunch of images of the Dreamlifter bringing in components to Paine Field for the production line including shots of the unloading of parts.  During a more recent visit, I happened to be there when they were moving a pair of wings from the storage facility to the production facility across the airfield.  They had escort vehicles to lead and follow up as they crossed the runway.  The wings look a lot less impressive in the travel jigs.  The completed 787 looks substantial but the wings alone don’t provide the same impact.

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