Lighthouse at Mukilteo

Mukilteo Light Station is a small lighthouse located (not surprisingly) in Mukilteo.  It sits in a small park right next to the ferry terminal for the crossing to Whidbey Island.  I had been wondering about checking out the park and the light station for a while after noticing them on Google Maps but I had never got around to doing so.  Then I found myself on the ferry to Whidbey with a buddy of mine when I looked back and saw the light in some lovely early morning sun.  Too late but something to remember.

I didn’t have long to remember though.  I was back at the ferry a few days later.  This time we arrived just a little late to get the first ferry so had to wait for the second.  This gave me a chance, albeit a short one, to have a quick look at the light.  It isn’t the most impressive structure you will see but it is a nicely kept lighthouse on a nice promontory.

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Open House at the 142nd

The 142nd FW of the Oregon ANG is based at Portland International airport.  They held an open house one Saturday morning and I figured a trip down was worth it.  I put together a piece for Global Aviation Resource on the visit which you can see here if you want.  The event was aimed at sharing the work the unit does with the local community that is probably well aware of their presence courtesy of the regular launches of F-15s from the runway at the international airport.

They had a couple of the jets for people to take a look at.  One was out on the ramp and you could walk around it.  Another was in the hangar with an access ladder to the cockpit (devoid of ejection seat, just to be on the safe side).  They also had missiles and engines available to look at with people on hand to talk about them.  Meanwhile, the unit launched a few waves of jets.  They taxied out from the shelters a short distance away and, given the distance to the threshold of the runway, the F-15s were airborne well before they even came in to sight.  Fortunately, they did keep them low and fast until they came by our location.  Then they pulled up rapidly.  Each departure was appreciated by the spectators!

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Brandywine Falls Provincial Park

We took a trip up to Whistler for a long weekend.  On the drive up there, we went past Brandywine Falls Provincial Park.  The falls themselves were actually pretty close to the highway so this did not involve a particularly strenuous hike.  However, after being in the car for a long drive, it was nice to get out and stretch the legs.  Besides, it was a lovely day.

I was not anticipating the falls being very full given the time of year but it turns out they must have a reasonably good source of water and they were flowing strongly.  The park has built a viewing deck that allows visitors to get out to the edge in safety and get a good view of the falls themselves.  The trail continues on for a way as well so you can look back at the falls from a variety of angles.  While it was later in the day, the light was still a bit tricky.  The falls were in deep shade while the sun was shining on the surrounding forest.  The contrast was harsh which meant the exposure was a compromise.  Modern sensors do have considerable latitude to accommodate this variation though.  It was possible to pull out details from both the highlights and the shadows within Lightroom.

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A Change of Location Makes for Locals That Are of Interest

I made a stop at Vancouver International on my way to the city for a few days.  It was the end of the day when I got there and I met up with my friend Mark who gave me a few pointers of what to look out for.  The arrivals were in the opposite direction to that we had expected which messed up things a little but there were still options.  Besides, I hadn’t shot there before so I was keen to see what was going on.

When you live near an airport, you can get blasé about what comes and goes.  The same things every day can be a bit dull.  For someone who has never been there before, though, all of this stuff is new and interesting.  WestJet may be a familiar sight in Canada but I don’t see them very often.  Dash 8s may be very old hat but they have largely vanished where, replaced by the Q400 derivative, so I am pleased to see them.  It is this variety that makes somewhere new so interesting.  These shots are some of the items that sparked my interest that day.  Some more specific planes will get their own time on the blog in due course.

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Houseboats on Lake Union

Seattle is certainly a hilly city.  This does mean you can find yourself in locations with a pretty cool view of other parts of the city including the lakes.  I was up above Lake Union and got a great view of some of the lakeside features on the opposite shore.  Houseboats are arrayed along the shoreline and, unlike some houseboats I remember from my childhood, these look rather nice.  They are still a compact space but they look in good shape and they clearly have quite a nice view out of the front door.   I wonder what they are like to live in.  Do they get very damp or are they not a problem to control I wonder?  Anyone know anybody who lives in one?

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EVA 747s Are the Next to Have Gone

I have documented the demise of some of the fleets of Boeing 747s as airlines progressively send their planes to a new owner or a recycler.  The latest airline to join the trend is EVA Air.  Based in Taiwan and owned by the Evergreen shipping line, the airline was originally launched under the Evergreen name.  However, there was another airline called Evergreen at that time so they had to change the name to EVA Air.  Now Evergreen have gone bust, I guess they could change their name but at this point there seems little reason to do so.

I don’t know whether the retirement of the 747s includes from the freight services or whether it is just passenger use but I suspect the latter.  These shots are just of the passenger jets that I have seen over the years.  They have been harder to see as the 777-300ERs took on more of the routes and now they will be harder still!

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The Fish Ladder

Hiram M Chittenden was not only the man in charge of creating the Ballard Locks, he also was ahead of his time in understanding some of the ecological impact of what he was doing.  The importance of the fish to the region and the disruption that the salmon would experience led him to the creation of a fish ladder.  There is still one there now although it appears to be of slightly more modern construction.

There are ramps alongside parts of the ladder so you can look down and see the fish as they work their way up the steps.  You can also look down and see a lot of them swimming around in the approach to the ladder itself.  Meanwhile, there is a viewing gallery that has windows into the side of part of the ladder where you can watch the fish either resting in the quieter flows or forcing their way up to the next level.  There were signs telling us which types of fish there might be but I have to admit they all looked alike to me.

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The Spooks Are in Town

The subject of this post ended up getting some coverage but, when I saw it, I didn’t know about the interest surrounding it.  I was at BFI awaiting the departure of another aircraft when a turboprop took off over me.  I had the camera to hand so grabbed some shots of what I realized was an Airbus CN235.  Painted in a dark gray scheme, it looked a little odd.  A closer look at the shots showed it had a few lumps and bumps suggestive of an array of antennae.  I figured it was just passing through en route to somewhere more interesting.

However, that wasn’t the case.  It had been spotted flying some patterns over the city.  I had seen some odd flight paths on Flightaware being flown by a plane called Spud21.  I loved the name!  it was flying orbits over the city but I couldn’t see anything else about it.  However, when I saw the plane crop up in the media, the article identified that it was the owner of the Spud21 callsign.

I don’t know what the purpose of the flights was.  It is suggested that the aircraft is owned by the US military but whether it is for their use or is in support of an overseas operator, whether these flights were for testing purposes or were checking out the residents I don’t know.  I do know that it was something a little out of the ordinary though.

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The Commercial Craft Have Precedence

I learned something new about boat traffic while at the locks in Ballard.  There is a clear rule structure about which types of boats get precedence when traversing the locks.  Priority goes to government boats and emergency services.  Then scheduled commercial boats followed by unscheduled commercial boats before you start to get to the pleasure craft that make up a big chunk of the traffic.  One of the boats had tried to enter the lock and they got a loud verbal warning that they had jumped the traffic lights and that a commercial craft was going ahead of them.

After hearing this, I chatted with one of the lock staff and he explained the way in which things are prioritized.  The boat that first demonstrated this was a fishing vessel that went through the smaller lock and was a pretty snug fit (although the crew didn’t seem to even pause when running it in to the lock).  The other commercial vessel that came in was substantially larger.  It was directed to the main lock while the smaller traffic continued to use the smaller one.  Seeing such large vessels come through and the change in perspective from when they were below you as they entered to being so much higher when they left was quite impressive.

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Raptor Turning Overhead

The F-22 Raptor that displayed at Seafair took off from Boeing Field away from us.  It kept things nice and low building up speed before pulling hard to the vertical.  Impressive but a long way away from us.  Unfortunately, the pilot then elected to land on the opposite runway.  All of this was away from us.  The only upside was that, when he ran in to break, he ended up breaking right over the top of us.  A brief window to get some shots and rather close in for the longer lens I was using but, all things considered, it was a good consolation prize.

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