Delta A350 In to SeaTac

Delta has replaced the 767 on the Narita run with the A350.  It arrives in to SeaTac in the morning and SeaTac early arrivals from the south do not provide good opportunities for photography.  I had an idea for a possible place to try so headed out on a sunny Sunday (very cold) morning.  It turned out my chosen spot was a non-starter so now I was looking for an alternative and rapidly.  I ended up a little further away than was ideal and with a slightly obscured view.  The cold played to my advantage though.  Heat haze is probably usually a big problem at this spot but, on this occasion, I could get away with it. 

While obscured, I had some views of the approach path and also close to the touchdown zone.  Only the heavy jets land on the inner runway so I didn’t have much chance to practice what would happen.  Only one heavy came in beforehand – a Korean Air 777 – and this showed me I need to change my plan a little.  Then I just had to hope things would work out for the A350.  It wasn’t great but it worked out okay and I was pleased to come away with some shots.

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Sunset Over Lake Washington

No long explanation here.  I was down at Lake Washington and the sun was going down so I took this shot with my phone.  Just seemed pretty…

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COPA Max Touch and Go

The 737 flight tests involve a departure from Renton and arrival at Boeing Field from which all further flying takes place.  However, on some flights, approaches are made to Paine Field.  One COPA 737 Max made such an approach while I was there.  I was at the departure end of the field and, while sometimes they will land and back taxi before taking off again, this time it was a go around.  Consequently, they were quite high by the time they passed me.  Still worthy of a few shots, though.

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Bunnies Evade the Kids

I had stopped off by Lake Washington to get some late afternoon photos and, as I walked back up to the parking lot, a couple of rabbits were snacking along the path.  Since the camera was still out, I figured I would get some quick shots.  Unfortunately, a family was following me up the trail and the kids spotted the rabbits.  Being young kids, their instinct was to run to the rabbits – it won’t surprise you to know that the rabbits did not hang around to see if their intentions were good.  I did get a couple of shots before they had vanished.

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Chino Backlot

The Planes of Fame museum at Chino is a fantastic place to visit for any aviation enthusiast.  Many hangars are open and they are filled with all sorts of interesting aircraft, restored either to static or flying condition.  However, they are not all that is there.  There is a backlot in which other aircraft are stored awaiting either their own restoration or for them to provide parts for the restoration of something else.  Some great looking vintage aircraft here including jets that it would be so good to see back in the air.  I decided to dedicate this post to some shots of these less glamorous residents.

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Sun Over Puget Sound

Winter weather in Washington can be a bit unpredictable.  It can be cloudy and rainy in one spot while the sun is peaking out a short distance away.  Shoreline provided just such variety.  While it had been quite gloomy, as we walked around the headland near the lighthouse, the view to the south over Puget Sound suddenly cleared up nicely and there was a lovely sunny view.  Time to grab some pictures before the sun disappears again (which it did before too long!).

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Green Jet Airways 737

If you drive passed Boeing Field at the moment, there are a few 737s parked across the street in the employee parking lot.  One is a development Max 7 but the others a new jets awaiting delivery.  They are marked up for Jet Airways.  Apparently, the airline has cash issues and that might be the reason that delivery has not been taken on these jets.

I may well have seen one of them during its test flying activities.  This jet was still unpainted when it made a stop at Everett.  You often get jets passing through Everett en route back to BFI but this one was actually making a stop.  I assume they completed the test flying and painting of the airframe in the hope that the financing would come to fruition.  Apparently, that has not yet happened.  Either Jet will come up with the money or these aircraft will be reconfigured for an alternate customer.

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Mesa Arch at Canyonlands

I was watching a YouTube video recently where they discussed photographing Mesa Arch in Canyonlands. This is one of my shots from my visit there and, while I had some similar experiences to the guys on YouTube, I also had a great overall experience.Mesa Arch is famous for the sun rising through the arch. I wanted to be there for that so an early start was required. Getting there requires a reasonable drive from Moab but we were staying a bit outside Moab anyway so we had a longer drive. I wanted to get there in plenty of time so we started out very early.

As we drove into Canyonlands, I could see some large taillights ahead of me. It looked like a coach and where else would it be going at this time of the morning. Sure enough, we followed it in to the parking lot near the arch. The coach disgorged a group of tourists from Japan and we followed them up the trail.

At the arch itself, a ton of people were lined up directly in front of the arch. We decided to hold back a short distance and see how things played out. Everyone was waiting for the sun to appear over the horizon. The good thing about shooting landscapes instead of aircraft is you know what time things will happen. Sunrise is never late and, while it might be overcast, the sun doesn’t go tech. Up it popped. What followed was quite funny. There was the sound of lots of shutters clicking as soon as the sun popped up. I’m sure it wasn’t immediate but it then felt like everyone turned and walked away. About fifteen minutes later there were probably half a dozen of us with cameras and tripods left alone. The group worked well together moving around and giving each other space and time.

Here is the best bit. The sunrise was okay but nothing special. However, after about fifteen to twenty minutes, the light started to really illuminate the rock surfaces around us. The walls and the underside of the arch were glowing. It was infinitely better than when the sun came up and hardly anybody that had trekked out early that morning saw it. They had all gone. Those of us that remained had a great time. If you ever go to Canyonlands, be patient!

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YF-23

A YouTube video showed up in my feed recently that involved the Northrop YF-23.  I have only seen one of the prototypes.  The one at Torrance has eluded me so far but I did get to see the one in the Experimental hangar at the Museum of the USAF at Wright Patterson.  I think things have been rearranged a lot since I was last there with new hangars having been opened but, when I visited, the hangar was a pretty cramped experience.  Getting a good view of the aircraft was tricky.  The YF-23 is a fascinating looking airframe with some very unusual shaping so I tried to get shots that emphasized this instead.  If I could have another crack at photographing it, that would be great.

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Eagles Over the Marshes

We stopped off for a spot of lunch during our trip to Fir Island.  We had a recommendation in Edison that we took.  As we headed back out after lunch, we were driving across some marshland when we saw some bald eagles.  Pulling off the road, we watch them swooping across the marsh land.  At one point they came right over where we were standing.  An immature eagle was the one that came closest to us but we got a good look at several of them as they went looking for their lunch.  Obviously they didn’t try the place we had been too!

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