Author Archives: Rob

Super Resolution

The most recent update for Adobe Photoshop includes a function called Super Resolution.  Many of the third party plugins and stand alone image processing tools come with tools to increase the resolution of images.  In Photoshop you used to have a basic way to increase resolution but it wasn’t that clever and could introduce odd artifacts.  I had been advised to use it in small increments rather than one big increase to reduce the problems but I hardly ever used it.

The new addition to Photoshop is apparently based from machine learning.  If the PR is to be believed, they took loads of high res images and low res versions of the same image and the machine learning came to recognize what might be there in the small shot from what it knew was in the large shot.  I don’t know what the other packages aim to achieve but this new tool in Photoshop has been doubling the resolution of the shots I have played with.  You end up with a file four times the size as a result of this doubling of dimensions.

I have tried it out on a couple of different shots where the resolution was okay but not terribly large and where a higher res shot might prove useful.  So far the tool is available through Camera Raw in Photoshop – not Lightroom.  You need to update Lightroom in order to import the DNG files it produces.  There is a suggestion that Lightroom will get this capability in time which would be more user friendly from my perspective.

My computer is not cutting edge so it takes a little while to process the images.  It forecasts five minutes but seemed to complete the task way faster than that.  In the examples here, I attach a 200% version of the original shot and a 100% version of the new file.  There seems to be a definite benefit to the output file.  I wouldn’t describe this as earth shattering but it is useful if the original file is sharp enough and I might have a need for this for a few items over time.

Murrelets Feeding On the Dock

When walking along the shore at Mukilteo, I will often see one or two Murrelets diving for food in the shallows along the edge of Puget Sound.  They are not rare but nor are they particularly abundant.  Consequently, I was rather surprised when at the new ferry terminal to see a large number of them swimming in the water around the new pier structures.  There was a constant stream of them diving down and surfacing again.

I can only assume that something is growing on the surface of the steel posts that support the new loading spans.  The birds would swim up to the posts, dive straight down for a while – presumably as they grabbed the food – and then surface at an oblique angle.  The result was a cycle of birds going down and back up again.  It looked really strange and seemed like something that would stop but there must be plenty to eat as they just kept going.  I figured video was the best way to show what was happening so below is a short clip of them feeding away!

Turkmenistan Gets the Last 777-200LR

I have posted a fair few things from an evening spent at Paine Field after work.  Ironically, the reason for actually being there is the last topic to get a post from that visit.  Boeing continues to build 777s ahead of the introduction to service (eventually) of the 777X.  Almost all deliveries are of the 777-300ER.  Its sister ship was the 777-200LR, a lower capacity plane with longer range to meet the need of extreme range operations.

None of these have been built for a while but one more was on order.  (The 777F is a variant of the 200LR and it continues to sell well.). This final 200LR was order by Turkmenistan.  Getting the last of the type was of some interest but an aircraft from Turkmenistan was more unusual so I wanted to see it.  Turned out it was on a test flight in the afternoon when the weather was nice and it was due back at the end of the day.

I thought it was going to mess with me.  When it showed up approaching the field, instead of lining up on approach, it flew across the approach path to the west.  However, this was just a feint and it then came back and flew an approach.  Not the most exciting of colors for an aircraft but the last of the line and an unusual country made it worth going – besides, it was a lovely evening so being out was worth it anyway!

The Widest Load I Have Seen

Railroads can be used to move unusual loads.  In my work I have often had discussions about clearances along tracks to allow the Department of Defense to move outsized loads by rail – presumably tanks!  However, most things I have seen have been within the normal clearance diagrams.  As I was driving down to the waterfront park at Mukilteo, I passed a train sitting in a siding that was the widest thing I have ever seen on a train.  It was two containers side by side.  Both of them were hanging over the edge of the car.  I assume that it was a single container for moving outsized loads and, given where it was staged, it might have been something to do with Boeing.

As I drove past it, I figured I would walk back and get a photo.  However, some locomotives showed up and they started switching everything around.  I didn’t get a chance to get a shot from close up.  I did take some pictures from a distance and they then staged the vehicles out on the pier where Mukilteo becomes Everett.  If anyone knows anything about this load, do let me know.  I assume it needs special clearance to move since it must impinge on the adjacent tracks which would make passing other trains an issue!

Delivery of a KC-46?

Seeing a KC-46 at Boeing Field is not necessarily such a surprise.  However, seeing one parked up at the FBO was more unusual.  I am not sure whether the aircraft had been accepted and was ready for delivery or had actually come across country for a visit.  Either way, a USAF crew was about to fly it back across the country.  The size of the taxiways meant that it had to cross the runway to taxi up to the departure end where it could line up and head off on its way east.  Was it a delivery?  Who knows?

Anderson Island Ferry

My lockdown interest in different ferry operations continues unabated.  Since I was down at Nisqually checking out the wildlife refuge, I figured I was close to Steilacoom which is the home of a ferry service provided by Pierce County.  This one operates across to Anderson Island – a location where some friends of ours have a place.  It occasionally stops at a smaller island too but that is not a frequent service.

There were two ferries tied up at the dock when I got there.  One was the Christine Anderson and it was the one in use.  The other was called Steilacoom II and I wonder whether that is an older ferry that is kept in reserve.  Not long after I arrived, the ferry departed.  I hadn’t positioned well to catch it but it turned immediately and headed south so was soon visible away from the other dock vessels.  I got myself some lunch while I waited for it to return.  The sun was out and the conditions were lovely as it made its way back to Steilacoom.  However, a big cloud bank rolled in at just the wrong time and, as it got close to its destination, it was suddenly in shade that did not make for good photos.  The Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the background was still bathed in good light though.  One more ferry to add to the tally!

P-8 On a Sunny Day

I stopped for lunch and to take some calls at Boeing Field.  While I was eating my sandwich, a US Navy P-8 rolled out of the Boeing military ramp to head off on test.  With Seattle on a southerly flow, the P-8 needed to taxi the length of the field for departure.  It came past me so the sandwich had to take a pause while I got a couple of shots.

Prior to take off, they carried out a rejected takeoff and backtracked for the real departure.  One a sunny day like this, the heat haze looking that far up the field is pretty bad so not real chance to get a good shot.  The departure itself was a lot better.  By the time it rotated, it was close enough to mean the haze, while still present, was a lot less troublesome.  As soon as it climbed out, the problem went away.  Its interesting that the low light angles of the winter are already being replaced with a transition to the harsher high sun but it is still worth being out.

New Footbridge Across SR520

One of my regular bike routes takes me over the hills between Redmond and Bellevue on the SR520 bike trail.  This parallels the highway and provides a good route to get to the lake (although the climbs can be a bit tiring on the legs).  As you get up to the highest point on the crossing, you pass a new footbridge.  The light rail system is being extended to Redmond and there is going to be a station up here by the Microsoft campus.  Part of the construction is a new footbridge across the highway to allow passengers to also access the campus on the other side of the road.

The bridge is being finished up at the moment so isn’t open for use – the light rail will open to this location in 2023.  It is well advanced though.  They have some interesting artwork decorating the interior of the bridge.  I stopped to get some shots of it while out on a ride.  You might suggest I needed a rest after making the climb but there is not evidence to support that hypothesis!

How To Blow It When You Want to Do One Thing!

In the run up to Christmas, I got to photograph the Asia Pacific Airlines Boeing 757 freighter while it was being used to supplement capacity for UPS.  Prior to that, I had noticed it was operating a circular route from Seattle to LAX to Honolulu and back to Seattle.  This seems to have started again.  With a nice forecast for a Saturday morning and it due in early in the morning, I figured I would head out and get some shots in the nice morning light.

The jet was projected to be in to SeaTac at around 7:25 so I left a little before 7 to try and be there.  The forecasts on the sites are often a bit optimistic but I still took my breakfast with me rather than risk missing out.  I got to my intended location just coming up on 7:25 and, as I pulled in to the lot, I saw a Korean Air Cargo 747-8F on final approach to the inner runway.  I grabbed the camera and, while it would be backlit, figured I would get a bonus.  I took the shots and then looked on the iPad to see where my jet was.

An ad ran on the app for about 30 seconds which was annoying but I finally managed to search on the jet.  Apparently, it was right there.  It was almost directly behind me.  I had intended to walk up the hill to get past the tree line.  Instead, I just turned and shot as it passed through the one gap in the trees I had.  Crap!  If I hadn’t looked at the 747, I would have been fine.  I went all that way and only got a side on shot. The light was really nice too!  What a dope.  Maybe there will be another opportunity – we shall see.

Low Rainbow for Winter

The weather may have been highly variable for my visit to Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, this did have a side benefit.  Lots of rain followed by sudden sun means a good chance of a rainbow.  That is exactly what we got.  The rainbow was very wide and flat which I assume is a function of the sun angle at this time of year.  It looked pretty unusual and very cool so I figured I would share it here!