Capilano Suspension Bridge

The arrival of some family members in Vancouver as part of a vacation gave us a reason to make a day trip up to the city.  It is a pretty easy run to get there so we were pleased to head up.  Since the visitors were on vacation, they were keen to explore different things so we decided to head across the Lions Gate Bridge and visit the suspension bridge at Capilano.  This was not something I had been aware of before we planned this.

The bridge has apparently been there for many years.  It is suspended across a deep valley with a river running through the bottom.  It is a very popular attraction and, while we headed there in the morning, we were certainly not alone.  The people that own the bridge have expanded the facilities to include a number of other attractions and these will get their own posts in the coming days.  However, this is just about the bridge.  As it covers quite a distance, the bridge has quite a drop between the ends and the middle.  This makes each end of it quite steep.  Combine that with the number of people crossing, the desire everyone has to look around/get some pictures, and the amount it moves around which unsettles the first-time user and it takes a while to get across.  It is interesting to see that the return journey is a bit quicker!

Being on the bridge gives you one perspective.  Looking down into the valley below is a different point of view.  At various other times, you get a chance to check the bridge out from a distance (when you see how long it is and how many people are on it at any one time) when it also seems rather dwarfed by the surroundings.  You even get to walk underneath it at one point and then it has a very different feel.  If you are spending any time in Vancouver, I do suggest you head to North Vancouver and check the bridge and its associated attractions out.

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Has the Catfish Escaped Me? NO!

The first Boeing 757 built was kept by Boeing as a test aircraft and never went to an airline.  When Boeing became a partner in the F-22 Raptor program, a new use was found for the aircraft.  It was fitted out as a flying testbed for the avionics suite.  A test crew could ride in the cabin and they could try out a number of different configurations of software changing things as they go without having to have the software flight qualified.

To make the whole ensemble work appropriately, the aircraft was fitted with F-22 sensors.  This included a radome on the aircraft nose with the F-22’s radar.  In addition, because a number of sensors were embedded in the wings, a wing structure was added about the cockpit.  This unusual configuration resulted in the aircraft gaining the nickname “Catfish”.  It flew a lot during the development program but I only ever saw it on the ground at Boeing Field and then it was partially obscured.  I did also look down on it from an airliner approaching SeaTac.

I knew it didn’t fly often but I hoped that, in moving to the area, I would finally get to see it airborne.  Then I discovered that it had flown to St Louis.  The rumor was that it had been retired.  Indeed, on a flight across the country involving a plane change in St Louis, I did see it parked up in an open-ended hangar.  I figured that might be as close as I got.  Then I got a notification that it was heading west again.  Better yet, it wasn’t going direct to Boeing Field but to Everett first.  It is a short drive from the office to Everett and the flight plan meant it was coming in during lunch.

The harsh lunchtime light and the prospect of heat haze notwithstanding, I figured this was too good a chance to miss.  It showed up pretty much when expected so I was able to get some shots of it coming down the approach and across the threshold.  The heat haze was really bad as it was over the runway but actually slightly less of an issue further out.  I don’t care.  I finally got to see it fly and that is what I was after.  It headed back to St Louis from Boeing Field the following day.  I have no idea when it left Everett for Boeing Field though.  If it comes back again and I can see it, that will be a bonus.

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Adobe Fixed the Time Zone Issue for Video

In this previous post, I noted that there was a problem with the way in which Lightroom identified the time of video files.  I was having to manually adjust the capture time after importing them.  When I contacted Adobe, they said it was a problem with Canon and vice versa.  Not helpful.  However, I notice that, with a recent update (I won’t say upgrade because some aspects of it seem to have really screwed up Lightroom performance), the video files now come in with the correct time associated.  I only found this out because I was about to adjust them when I realized they were already correct.  One little annoyance has now gone away.  Hurrah!

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Growlers Pop By

The US Navy brought a couple of E/A-18G Growlers from Whidbey Island to the open day at Paine Field.  The pair showed up in the morning and were parked up on the ramp at Heritage Flight Museum before they left later in the day.  We got a good look at them as they landed and departed.  Hopes of a nice low approach and go around were sadly not fulfilled but it was still cool to see them visiting.

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Can You Find Yourself in North Vancouver?

Standing on the shore in Vancouver on a sunny Sunday afternoon provided a great view of North Vancouver. Plenty of boats were making their way across the bay including some large ones which proved a little problematic for this task. I figured I could use the long lens, shoot a large sequence and create a panorama when I got home. It turned out that Photoshop and Lightroom both struggled compiling this panorama so I ended up positioning everything manually. However, it all worked out pretty well. Here is the result. Feel free to navigate around to see what you can find.

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The Growlers Must Be Shy

I have shot at quite a few Red Flags both on and off base.  On base of get such good access that you don’t see anything to make you think that the participants are camera shy.  However, off base I have become rather suspicious of the Growler community.  When you see something strange once, you figure it must be an oddity but, when you see something repeat, you start to think there is a pattern.  When you tell your friend that something happens and then they do it again for both of you, you really think something is going on.

The E/A-18G Growlers fly in a way that makes me think they are trying to be difficult for photographers. (Either that or they think they are doing something to help but are actually making it worse!).  During arrivals the Growlers often go left but, when they go right, they either fly incredibly tight patterns or they go so long as to make all shots rather dull.  However, it is on departure that I have got most suspicious.  When they come off the left runway heading towards us, they seem to sidestep to the left and then straighten up after a while.  This puts them almost directly overhead the awaiting photographers.  You get an underside shot but nothing more.  Not a great shot but you start wondering what you are missing from the profile or above that might be more interesting.  I am probably paranoid but I do see a pattern developing.

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Hydro Power!

Snoqualmie Falls may be impressive but they would be even more so if there weren’t a diversion of a lot of the water.  There are two hydroelectric power stations at the Falls.  The original station is built into the Falls themselves.  Water is taken off at one side and drops down to some turbines before being ejected alongside the base of the falls.  The exiting water can be seen from above.

The second station was built a few years later and has been expanded since.  Water is ducted around the Falls to a holding pond where it then enters some pipes that run it down the side of the hill to a turbine hall.  The hall has been replaced and expanded relatively recently but the style has been kept in keeping with the original.  The pipes also look like they have been replaced because they looked quite new.  As we walked across them, it was hard to imagine just how much power was flowing within.

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Zero G and, Ironically, It’s Not Raining

I last saw this jet on approach to Oakland.  I blogged about that event here.  On that day, it was pouring with rain.  I got the shot but it was rather dreary.  This time I saw the jet parked up at Boeing Field in Seattle.  Ironically, the sun was out on a lovely day – not Seattle’s reputation.  Sadly, it wasn’t moving while I was there.  I don’t know why it was in town but I heard there was a big software conference underway so maybe it was a fun trip for some big cheeses in the software business.

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Are Baby Reindeer Cute?

There is a school of thought that baby animals are a lot cuter than the fully-grown versions.  I guess cuteness is in the eye of the beholder so there may be some that find reindeer to be cute.  They are fine as far as I am concerned but probably not the cutest animal there is.  This herd had a number of babies (anyone know the name for a baby reindeer?) and some of them were more adventurous sniffing their way around the enclosure although the mother was never too far away.  They did look pretty sweet as the walked around the place, occasionally looking a little unsteady but generally showing that skill of instantly being mobile that humans clearly lack.

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Honeywell Test Convair

An older airframe is always a pleasant surprise.  While I was at Everett, Honeywell had some people making a visit to Paine Field and they came in the company’s old Convair.  This is not the sort of plane you see around much anymore so I was rather pleased to see it show up.

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