Category Archives: Travel

Whitby

In the early 2000s, Nancy and I took a trip up to Yorkshire for a long weekend in February.  We were staying in Pickering and we got there just before a decent snow storm arrived.  By the time the snow started, we were comfortably tucked up in the hotel bar but the following day, any chance of going somewhere was out of the question as the town had temporarily been cut off by the snow.  The day after, the roads had been cleared and we took a drive north.

We ended up spending some time in Whitby.  A historic port town, Captain James Cook first went to see from there.  It has the ruins of an Abbey on the hill overlooking the harbor and the town rises from the water in a style you would expect of such an old English town to do.  We went to a really nice pub for lunch as a recall where we had excellent fish and chips – formulaic I know but still bloody good!  I scanned these images when making a surge through my old film shots so I thought I would go back about 20 years to something from the old country.

Bryce Canyon

More photos from old vacations.  This time we have moved from Arizona to Utah and to Bryce Canyon.  This was a place I was absolutely blown away by.  Photos of the canyon and the hoodoos within had got me interested in the place but seeing it was quite stunning.  We were staying on the rim so hiking down in to the canyon or taking the trail around the rim was really easy for us.  It might be true that I spent so much time trying to take some photos on the way around the rim trail that we got to the lot farther around too late for the shuttle and had to walk back again.  I think that proved to be good fortune as the views get better as the sun gets lower.

When you are within the canyon, the hoodoos rise up around you and you get a sense of the scale which you don’t from outside.  The peace and calm when you are down in there is very special.  I may not be a spiritual person but I certainly felt really at ease as we walked through the trails.  Here are a few of the shots I took during that trip.  There are other parts of Utah that we haven’t explored yet and I hope any trip back includes the opportunity to visit Bryce again.

Lockheed Martin Test Assets

An early ISAP symposium included a visit to Lockheed Martin’s facility at Fort Worth.  We were there to see the first F-35 test aircraft, AA-1.  In addition, they had arranged to bring Glacier Girl, a P-38 Lightning, to be there too to provide two Lockheed Lightnings.  However, while I was up the scissor lift that was provided for us to get an elevated view, I looked the opposite direction.  There were two interesting looking airframes parked up.  One was an old F-16 that had probably been used for test duties.  The other was not a flyable plane but it was some sort of test rig for the STOVL configuration of the F-35 – what would become the F-35B.  A couple of cool looking items that you wouldn’t normally get to see.

Pacific Coast Trail in Ucluelet

A while back I posted about the Amphitrite Lighthouse in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island.  We saw it while walking on the Pacific Coast Trail.  At the time of that post, I said I would post more from the rest of the trail.  I guess I have finally got around to doing so.  The beginning of the trail took us past the lighthouse but it was a bit backlit.  As we walked further around the coastline, the light came to be behind us more and the view of the various inlets and islands got to be very nice.

It was such a tranquil spot.  I suspect November is not the busiest time of year and the trails might be a lot more crowded in peak season but the sun was out and it was really lovely to be there.  The rocky coastline looks like it is something that you need to know your way around carefully if you are in a boat.  The presence of a lighthouse tells you that plenty have come to grief in the past.  On a day like the one we had, though, it couldn’t have seemed more appealing.

Heathrow From a While Back

When we first lived in Chicago, I was working for a UK based company.  I used to make regular trips to London to check in with the mother ship.  For the return journey, I would usually take the morning flight back to O’Hare from Heathrow.  In those days, BA operated from Terminal 4 and there was a Hilton hotel attached to the terminal.  This made the whole process very easy.  Get up, walk across the bridge to the terminal and check in.  It also meant I could get the occasional shots of operations.

There was a fire escape on the side of the hotel that provided a view to the east and to a bit of the airfield itself.  It was a bit restricted as views go but it was not bad.  I could get some shots of the operations if the direction of the flow was right.  I would also get up early sometimes to see the arrivals coming in as the sun was coming up.  Here are some of the shots I got from there.

Fort Worth F-16s

Ahead of an ISAP symposium many years ago, my friend Richard had arranged a visit to JRB Carswell at Fort Worth.  As well as being the home of the Lockheed Martin assembly plant, it also hosts the 301st FW of the USAF Reserve with their F-16s.  They were great hosts and we got to spend a bunch of time around the base.  On their ramp space, we had a lot of freedom to shoot them prepping for missions and heading out.

We also got to go to the EOR and see them come in after their missions and have the jets safed prior to taxiing back to the ramp.  Being close to the jets while they are doing real work is such a different experience to seeing them at an air show when things are all a bit more contrived.  This was a new experience for me at the time and so I was following the example of a few of the other guys when looking to see what sort of things to get shots of.  It was a great learning experience and a bunch of fun too!

Another Look at the Hoh Rain Forest

I was recently watching a video of a landscape photographer and he took a trip to the Hoh Rain Forest on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.  Nancy and I went there on a vacation a few years ago and I posted about it here.  I decided to go back and look at some of the images from that visit and see what I liked.  I had taken a bunch of photos in multiple locations on that trip and I found that I had not really given many of the shots any effort.

I decided to take a look at both those that I shared in the original post but also some “new” ones.  I realized that a little effort made the images so much more interesting.  The rain forest is so lush and there is so much green that it almost seems unnatural.  I brought down the exposures a bit and did punch of the saturation a little.  It does look a little overdone but I assure you it is actually a reflection of what the place is really like.  I think digital cameras tend to tone down greens a bit and, when the place you are looking at is all green, this is a bit of a problem that needs to be addressed.

Oho is about four hours drive from where we are now.  A bit of a trek for a day out but I think a trip over to that side of the peninsula is definitely something we should do again before too long.  We can also check out the coastline over there which is really stunning.

An Old RIAT Since This Year’s Is Scrubbed

When I lived in the UK, a trip to RIAT was a regular thing for me.  After I started shooting digital, I was living in the US so RIAT was more than just a day trip.  My first visit with the digital camera was in 2006.  I had to be in the UK for work so I timed it to coincide with RIAT because, you know, it would have been rude not to.  With RIAT canceled this year due to the ongoing virus issues, I figured I would jump back to this show to provide some highlights.

I spent two days there.  I made my first arrivals day visit and spent the day at the west end which was really nice.  Planes were arriving from that direction anyway so it worked out well.  The conditions were really nice on both days too so it was a fun and successful shoot.  Mikoyan-Gurevich brought there MiG-29OVT demonstrator with thrust vectoring and it flipped its way around the sky with abandon.  There was the usual selection of types from around the world which makes RIAT so fun.  There were also some older UK types making an appearance like the Canberra demonstration – the last RAF Canberra flights I saw – and the old Twin Pioneer.

A Czech Mil-24 Hind helicopter gunship in special tiger dquadron markings overflies RAF Fairford, UK.

Hopefully there is something in this selection that will be of interest from a great show.  There have been more RIAT visits since so maybe I shall dig out some stuff from those years if I continue to struggle for material for future posts!

North Rim

Nancy and I took a trip to Arizona and Utah many years ago.  It proved to be a really excellent trip and we saw some amazing locations.  The first stop on the trip was the Grand Canyon.  While the majority of visitors go to the South Rim of the canyon, this trip took us to the North Rim.  The two locations are not far apart but to get from one to the other involves hours of driving.  Apparently, there is some canyon in the way!

The North Rim is accessible for a smaller part of the year because it gets snowed in and doesn’t clear out until late in spring.  The views are supposed to be similar on either side but the lack of people at the North Rim makes it a more peaceful place to visit apparently (I haven’t been to the South Rim so can’t speak with authority).  The scenery was definitely beautiful.  We had some cloudy times and some very clear weather.  At night you could look at an amazing night sky.

The problem with the Grand Canyon is that there is little you can do to convey the scale.  Images are really not able to provide an understanding of just how vast the place is.  You can see it is pretty, but the experience is not reproduced.  To be honest, even when I was there, I found it hard to appreciate the scale.  With so little to reference, you struggle to realize what is close and what is far away.  Occasionally, if you see a boat on the Colorado River, you realize just how immense it all is.  Awesome is a word that should be used when describing the Grand Canyon!

I haven’t looked at these pictures for years.  I realize that I took some of them as examples at the time and then focused on those.  I haven’t been through some of the others.  With newer processing techniques, there is plenty to be done with some of the shots I have overlooked.  I shall be playing with this for quite a while I think.

Lightning In Kansas

It’s been a while since my last visit to our friends in Kansas.  I need to get back and see them soon.  Our first visit there was a dramatic one.  We had gone to the movies to see War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise.  At the beginning of that, there is a scene of what looks like lightning striking but it repeatedly hits the same place.  In the film, that is noted as being unnatural.  As we left the theater and drove home, a storm started raging around us.  The lightning was striking frequently and seemed to be in the same places.  Uh oh!

We got home and stayed inside as the storm reached its peak.  I have always loved thunderstorms and this one was outstanding.  I watched the lightning striking around us constantly.  I decided to take some pictures.  Photographing lightning is normally tricky to do.  If it is dark, you can go for long exposures and hope to get the lightning in some of the shots.  If you have a lightning trigger, you can let it do the work.  In this case, you didn’t need either.  I just shot out of the window and the chances were that there would be some lightning in the shot.  It was crazy.  Here are a couple of shots looking out of a bedroom window!