Chihuly Museum

For the longest time I wasn’t interested in visiting the Chihuly Museum in Seattle. I had seen some glass installations outdoors and the rather bright and garish look of them put me off the idea of seeing the collection. It just didn’t look like my thing. Then, when we had visitors that were interested in going, a trip was inevitable. I have to admit, I was very wrong. What I had seen a glimpse off was in no way representative of the collection as a whole and I was most impressed by what I saw.

First, there was a lot of variety in the art. Some of it was more to my taste than others which is only to be expected. However, all of it was interesting. The layout of the exhibits gave you plenty of space to enjoy them and, while the place was popular, I rarely felt overcrowded. Much of the work was much more subtle than I had anticipated and the forms and coloring were most impressive. Other parts were a bit more dramatic but still very cool.

While much of the work was indoors, there was a selection outside and these were nicely integrated into the gardens. The blend of the colors and the reflections of the surrounding structures in the surfaces were interesting for some while others were just interesting shapes. The potential of lighting them is something that was apparent but closing time was around sundown, so we only got a hint of the illumination. We shall return in winter to see how the lighting looks.

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Farewell to Hawaiian’s 767s

Hawaiian Airlines had a reasonably large fleet of 767s for its long haul services.  They introduced A330s to expand the fleet and more recently have added A321neos to serve destinations on the west coast of the US.  The arrival of these planes has meant the 767s are no longer needed.  Consequently the fleet has been run down and the final flights have taken place.  It won’t be an Airbus only fleet for the longer flights for long though.  787-9s are on order so Boeing will return to the long haul fleet before too long.

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Legislative Chamber

The legislature was out of session while we were in Victoria and access to the galleries over the chamber was closed. However, the door to the chamber was open so you could see the space in which the legislature meets. The speaker’s chair at the front was pretty grand. There were photos of all of the legislatures which made the room look huge but it was not that large. Clearly they had used a wide lens to get everyone in and it made the ones at the back seem miles away.

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Under the Ruslan

I have shot a lot of Antonov 124s at Everett since they are there on a regular basis.  One weekend recently, a Volga-Dnepr flight was scheduled in to SeaTac.  Shooting at SeaTac is a bit restricted in what you can achieve given the layout of the airport so I decided I would go for something a little different.  The heavy traffic usually comes in on the inside runway and there is a small park that puts you pretty much under the approach.  I thought this might be a slightly different position to shoot from.

The timing of the arrival was supposed to be later in the afternoon.  However, something about the routing meant the jet ended up getting in a bit later than I had expected.  Some lovely afternoon light had disappeared and had been replaced by a dull light which was also fading fast.  I was ramping up the ISO settings pretty quickly as the jet turned on the approach as it was disappearing by the minute.  Finally, the Ruslan appeared in view and I got some head on shots prior to shifting to a wider lens as the plane flew overhead.

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Blue Bridge

A new Johnson Street bridge has recently opened across part of Victoria Harbour. It has replaced an old bridge that was apparently in bad condition. The new structure is a bascule bridge to allow larger boat traffic to access the inner areas of the harbor and it has a really cool design. While the bridge carries the road across the water, it has excellent access on either side for other users. The two sides carry both bike and foot traffic and they are wide enough to provide plenty of space for all users. There was plenty of foot traffic when I was there which might have had something to do with the Christmas Parade that evening.

In the evening, the bridge is well illuminated. The curvy nature of the structure provides lots of interesting details. The mechanism for raising the bridge is not concealed either so you can see the gear wheels involved in lifting it if you look below. On my walk back one evening I ended up spending a fair bit of time on the bridge because it provided so many possible angles to shoot it either to get the full bridge or to focus in on individual parts of it.

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Oh Man! More New 787s

A nice early winter sunny day is a pleasant surprise in the Pacific Northwest and I was able to head across to Everett to see what was happening.  Boeing is busy building Dreamliners too though and a couple were on test flights while I was there.  One was Oman Air.  The scheme is an interesting change from the boring white liveries.  You can certainly hear the jets as they land because the test flight involves the deployment of the Ram Air Turbine and it buzzes away when they go by.  The other arrival will deserve its own post.

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Trumpeter Swans

The snow geese I mentioned in this post were not the only visitors we saw while up on Fir Island. Trumpeter Swans were also to be seen. They weren’t there in such numbers when we visited but I understand they are showing up at the moment. We saw a bunch of them on a muddy field which was not helping their white plumage out too much. Then a second group flew overhead and eventually landed in the same field. I was able to get a few shots as they flew across. The long necks make them easy to distinguish from the geese we saw before.

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Elusive Coast Guard Bell 429

I think the Coast Guard was messing with me while I was in Victoria. They operate a Bell 429 from their pad in the harbor and we saw it flying around on a regular basis. However, it always seemed to choose a route that took it just far enough away from me to avoid getting a decent shot. Plenty of longer range shots requiring a lot of cropping but nothing up close. The only time they came close, I didn’t have a long lens to hand. Very sneaky!

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Rebuilding With a Shell

We spent a long weekend in Victoria BC recently. A block from our hotel was an old building undergoing a complete rebuild. This is something that I have seen done a lot in London and I like the idea. Rather than flatten the building, the exterior structure is retained. The interior is completely removed and a new building is created within. This allows the city to maintain the look and feel of the old buildings with the authentic finishes while providing a modern building interior that will continue to be useful for current needs. The structure to hold up the exterior while work is underway is impressive on its own. I look forward to seeing what the finished building is like on some future visit.

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Air France to Test the Angle

I was at SeaTac one Saturday afternoon for the impending arrival of an AN-124.  The Ruslan was due in later but I was checking out the flightpaths for the inner runway.  An Air France A330 was due in so that was my test aircraft.  The light was nice and the angles worked well.  I was pretty happy with the result.  Sadly, the light wasn’t hanging around for the Antonov and conditions were not as good when it came in.

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