Mojave Gate Guards

At the main entrance to the airport at Mojave is an area with some preserved aircraft from test programs.  While Mojave is not particularly welcoming to visiting photographers on most of their land, this location seems to be just fine.  The dominant aircraft is an ex-NASA Convair CV990.  It was used for Space Shuttle landing gear trials amongst many other things.  It is joined by an ex-USAF F-4 Phantom and a SAAB 35 Draken that had a second life at Mojave after retirement from the Royal Danish Air Force.

Fishes In The Test

The River Test runs through the grounds of Mottisfont and there is a diverted section of it that runs through a very unnaturally straight section of river near the house.  As we walked along the path by this section, we saw a couple of fish in the water.  As we moved on, we realized that there were loads of them.  To my untrained eye, they looked like they might be trout but I am not an angler or any sort of sim expert.  I got some photos of them but video seemed like the best bet so I had a good at that too.  Can you identify them?

Bizjets Approaching Mt Rainier(ish)

Sometimes you can get too fixated on image quality and forget the overall image.  I was hanging around at Ruby Chow park one weekend when some jets were approaching Boeing Field.  I got some shots as they came overhead but then switched to getting shots of them as they got close to touchdown.  The view down the runway is looking straight at Mt Rainier.  The jets in front of the mountain look great.  Very quickly, the heat haze can make the clarity not as sharp as I would normally expect of myself but, actually, the shot is fine at full scale.  Just enjoy the image and don’t fret about the details.

Osborne House Itself

I’ve posted a few times about our visit to Osborne House but I have not actually shown anything from inside the house in those previous posts.  Finally we have gone inside.  When it comes to visiting old houses, I often don’t bother with the inside but this one definitely seemed worth a look since we had come all that way.  It is definitely interesting but it is also quite bizarre in places.

Talking to some of the guides in the rooms, we discovered that the whole place was put together rather rapidly.  Things that look like marble columns are in fact plaster or concrete and painted to look like marble.  I think some of that speedy construction means that there is a lot to do in maintaining things.  When Victoria died, the house was handed over the country and was used as a place for sailors recovering – presumably from wounds sustained.  Bits of the house were locked off from them including her old bedroom which was treated like a shrine by the family.  Only in later years did the place start to get preserved and restored in parts.

There is plenty of art scattered around although I think quite a lot of it is replicas of originals which are elsewhere in the royal collection.  Grandiose displays abound but then other areas are a lot more practical.  The rooms for the kids (of which they had plenty) are very busy.  No individual rooms for the youngsters it seems.

The tour takes you on a route through the building and the final section includes the Durbar Room.  This is a seriously over the top space.  Decorated in styles reminiscent of India, it is an example of what Britain controlled at the time and could easily been considered gaudy.  I was both amazed at it and also rather put off.  If you give someone free rein to design something, don’t be surprised if they overdo it!

The house itself is Italianate in design but the interior is a combination of all sorts of things be it traditional English, Indian, Greek or anything else that came to mind.  It is an interesting thing to see but not a place that I could ever imagine spending a lot of time.

The Virgin A350 Comes to Me

When we were in the UK, I had hoped to see the Virgin Atlantic A350-1000s in use.  I did see them in the distance but never got anything of them moving.  I was a touch disappointed because the Seattle route is served by the 787 fleet and we don’t get anything as large as the A350 coming here – normally!  However, Virgin is apparently involved in supporting the NFL games in Europe and the Seattle Seahawks had a game scheduled in Munich.  Virgin sent an A350 to Seattle to collect them.  It operated the normal inbound flight and then took the team direct to Munich.

It arrived in good conditions and from the south which allowed me to get some reasonable shots of it.  Lighting was a little overhead but it wasn’t too bad and could definitely have been worse.  I wasn’t able to see them depart but, once the game was over, the return trip was made.  I didn’t get the arrival but I was able to see the final departure of the jet as it headed back to London.  Maybe Virgin’s traffic will grow enough to justify the A350 on the route more often?  I would certainly like more opportunities to see the jet.

Leucistic Sparrow

Until I started spending some time in Juanita Bay with other photographers and bird watchers, I had never heard the word leucistic.  There is a leucistic sparrow that hangs out in the bay and is popular with the locals.  Apparently, this is a creature with light pigmentation.  It is not an albino but it has a lot of white in it.  This sparrow was hanging around in some of the trees near the trail as I walked by.  I figured it would rapidly disappear when I stopped but it wasn’t terribly bothered by me and was far more interested in whatever it was eating.  It is a rather interesting looking bird.

In From Manila And On To Teterboro

A sunny Sunday morning trip out for a bizjet got a bonus.  I was a touch late for the arrival unfortunately but this G650ER had come in from Manila on its was to Teterboro.  It would have been nice to catch it landing but, after it cleared customs, they taxied out for departure to the east coast.  I’m sure it was nice to stretch the legs after a trans-Pacific trip although I doubt a G650 is that uncomfortable!

Unusual Shaped Buildings in Vancouver

There area few buildings in Vancouver where the architects have been a little adventurous.  Some of them are visible from the shore as you walk around Stanley Park and I grabbed some photos from a distance.  There is one that is near the bridge as you drive towards Granville Island.  You can see part of it from the Island but a good view is on the road as you drive by.  I asked Nancy to try getting some shots as I was driving.  The tapered edge makes the building feel like it is hanging over the road.  Very interesting engineering!

The Alternative To An ATC Tower

Staffing an air traffic control tower is an expensive business.  The technology has recently been developed to allow air traffic control to be delivered remotely.  Sweden was an early pioneer of this approach.  A series of high definition cameras on the airport combined with high speed data links to a remote facility that is already well staffed means that an airport can be controlled by staff many miles away.  This is the approach London City Airport now has taken.

The controlling staff for LCY are now based at Swanwick in Hampshire rather than on the airport itself.  No doubt, this is cheaper than having London based staff in the quantities required. It also means that the low traffic levels that LCY has are not having to be covered by an unnecessarily large staffing level locally if the Swanwick staff are able to provide the necessary cover for what is not a busy airport.  The visibility of what is going on at the airport is provided by high definition video feeds and there is a tower at LCY which is the one that provides this coverage.  I got to see it when I was walking along the south side of the docks near the runway.  It will be interesting to see how approaches like this get developed for more airports that need air traffic services but do not have the volumes to justify the staffing involved.

Gull’s Crab Lunch Under Threat

As we walked along the shore trail in Stanley Park, we came up on a gull that had just caught a crab.  The gull was intent on eating the crab, as well you might imagine.  However, its lunch had also caught the attention of a bunch of crows (could hardly call them a murder).  Consequently, the gull was trying to find a way to avoid the crows and eat its food.  It was not going to escape them, of course.  Instead, it had to do the best it could and accept that they were going to get a few scraps.