Author Archives: Rob

Stalking the Rabbits

We get a lot of rabbits in the back garden.  They are a bit of a nuisance, but our yard is not good enough to justify the effort to do battle with them getting in.  Instead, I accept their presence and consider them a photographic subject instead.  Getting photos of them usually means subdued light.  During the brighter parts of the day, they stay out of the sun and then follow the shadows across the grass as they eat.

I have tried to stalk them to get shots from a lower angle where possible.  They are clearly a twitchy bunch and quite unwilling to hang around while I am moving about unless I stay far enough away.  Therefore, some cautious movements and picking a spot and hoping them come to you is in order.  Here are some more shots of the visitors.

Sheriff’s Retired Military Trainer

What I thought was a JetRanger came in to BFI one evening.  The color scheme looked a little odd and the markings had a bit of a military feel about it.  Once I got home, I looked up the registration to see who the operator was.  It turns out it was a JetRanger – sort of.  It was actually a retired TH-67 Creek which King County Sheriff’s department had bought.  They obviously haven’t repainted it.  I wonder whether they will.

Deer On Orcas Island

Our trip to Orcas included a fair few encounters with deer.  Sometimes this was while at the place we were staying.  They would wander through the yard.  If we came down the steps and they were behind a bush, they might just freeze and wait to see what we did before leaping off to safety.  Out in the parks, we would come across some while driving or hiking.  One was standing right by the road as we drove up and it didn’t care at all.  I wound the window down which, I thought, would spook it but no.  It actually nosed up to the car.  No camera at that point of course.


Sun Country Pumpkin Scheme

Sun Country changed their livery design a while back going with an orange based scheme known as the pumpkin livery.  I hadn’t shot one before – I’ve got their older colors and also the Transavia hybrid on leased jets – but it was due in shortly before the National A330 I had gone out for so I was happy to get the bonus.  It’s a garish livery, for sure, but it makes a change from the steady stream of stuff we see normally.

HMS Warrior

Continuing a theme from some recent posts with preserved Royal Navy ships, I add another part of the Portsmouth historic dockyard.  HMS Warrior was the world’s first iron hulled warship.  See served a reasonable career as a warship but, as was the case in those days, technology moved on fast and she was gradually relegated to lesser duties.  Eventually she became a hulk for storage and then a floating oil jetty.  Restoration was undertaken in Hartlepool in the 80s and she was opened to the public in Portsmouth in 1987.

I have not ever visited her.  I moved away from the area around the time she arrived and, while I have been back there more recently, I didn’t include her as part of the visit.  I have photographed her from a distance though.  Writing this has made me think that I need to visit at some point.  With Victory and Mary Rose in the same area, you might get a bit “shipped out” but I shall have to give it a go some time.

Finally WH003 Thanks to Nancy

Of the four 777X test aircraft, one had eluded me.  I had shot the third jet on the ground but never in motion.  Supposedly it is the performance test aircraft so the suggestion was that it was being preserved until a lot of configuration work had been done to make sure the engines were in peak shape prior to measuring fuel consumption. Recently I heard that it had been making a bunch of flights.  The good news was that these flights – lots of straight line flying out over the Pacific – were quite long and they usually landed in the early evening.  A trip after work was on the cards.

The problem with this timing is that is clashes with dinner.  Fortunately, I have a wife that is tolerant of my interest (although I think it would be wrong to say she understands my obsession!).  Nancy was willing to delay dinner until it came back (and I could then get home).  With test flying, there are no guarantees about timing so I would watch the jet head back up the coast only to turn around and go for another run south.

Fortunately, it finally turned back towards Seattle and it was pretty certain it was coming back.  The benefit of this waiting is that the light is getting better and better.  The downside of shooting the 777X is the size means the long lens is too much for the touchdown area.  The wide lens doesn’t do well for the rest of the approach though.  Two cameras was the answer.  I thought I had one set up right but it turns out I had messed up something with the result that the shots were rather overexposed.  Fortunately, RAW came to the rescue and I was able to get the shots back to what I wanted.  Now I have them all in flight.

Liquid Carbon GT40

This car was getting a ton of attention at one of the Exotics@RTC meets.  It actually took me a while to realize that it was a Ford GT40.  It was called Liquid Carbon and was carbon fiber everywhere.  I don’t know how much a normal GT40 is carbon fiber, but I didn’t think it was too much.  This was very different.  Everything from the body panels to the wheels was carbon.  It was quite an impressive looking machine.  I imagine it takes a lot of weight out of the car.  No doubt it also takes a lot of weight out of your wallet.

Falcon 20 and It’s Younger Sibling

Just before 777X WH003 returned to Boeing Field, I got a nice bonus.  Royal Air Freight has a small fleet of Falcon 20s that it uses for moving freight around the country and one was coming in to collect and maybe drop of some material.  I do like the Falcon 20.  It is definitely an older looking design at this point but it still looks pretty good.  Shortly before it lined up on approach, a Falcon 7X taxied for departure from the north end of the runway and right by me.

It then sat at the hold point while the Falcon 20 made its approach.  Having one of the newer Dassault jets sitting and waiting while one of the older Dassault creations flew in was a nice symmetry.  Once the 20 had vacated the runway, the 7X made its departure.  I assume it was going a long way since, despite using the full length, it took a while to get airborne.  The 20 taxied to the ramp opposite me where they proceeded to load it up.

How Low Do You Go In The Bends

It is quite amazing to me the cornering that motorbike racers achieve.  When I am out on my bicycle, I am always wondering how well the grip will hold up in tight bends at speed but I am not anything close to the cornering angles these guys achieve.  Sure, they have a prepared surface and custom rubber for the tires but even so, it is amazing how they push them to the limits (and occasionally beyond).

Watching them come through the corners, it was a regular thing to see the knee pads down on the surface of the track.  Some of them adopted a far more aggressive approach, though, and the occasional elbow could be seen getting down to the surface.  I wonder how that feels through the leathers and whether it is a good feeling or an unsettling one.

To see these guys coming in to the bends and then heading away from you with the bike and body cranked so far over and the throttle being modulated to keep just enough power on to maximize the speed out of the bend was so impressive.  Riding motorbikes has never been something I have been terribly interested in but watching someone that knows what they are doing extract so much from them was very cool.

Lineage Catches Us Out

My encounters with Lineages have been few and far between.  From memory, one at McCarran is the only one that I immediately can recall.  There may have been another but it would have been parked somewhere probably.  Seeing one taxi out at Boeing Field was, therefore, a pleasant surprise.  Since it would only be taking off past me, it wasn’t going to be a great shot but still better than nothing.  Then they thwarted me.  Instead of crossing over to taxi to the full length, they took the intersection departure.  7,500’ is obviously plenty but still very annoying.