Dams

Up in the Cascades, there are a bunch of dams.  The rivers have been dammed to provide hydroelectric power.  The lowest dam was not terribly cool looking but the dams higher up the pass looked a lot more like you would expect a dam to look.  One of them was easy to see although it was deep in shade while the rest of the scene was very bright.  HDR seemed to be the way to go.  The last dam we passed was visible from the highway but it was hard to get a clear look at it without some vegetation getting in the way.  Time to reach above your head while standing on a rock and using the Live View mode to try and see what you were shooting.  Limited success but at least you could see something.

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Three Planes per Shot?

I haven’t shot at Fisherman’s Park before and I am glad Hayman suggested it.  The location provides a slightly different perspective on the planes coming in to SFO.  It also seems to be the right angle to get lots of planes in one shot.  Parallel approaches will give you two but you can also get the aircraft departing off the 01s in the background too.  Sadly, they were often in shade as they departed but it still provided some contrasting shots.  Then it was just a question of whether you could get two arriving and two departing jets in the same shot or not.  Sadly, not this time.

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Swirling Wakes of Silt

San Francisco Bay has some strong tidal flows and crossing the bay is the San Mateo Bridge.  It has to resist these regular flows which it does without any problem.  There is a lot of silt in the bay and, as the tide is changing, this silt can get churned up, particularly by the turbulence around the piles for the bridge.  As we flew down the final approach, I was able to get some shots of the aby that included the bridge and showed clearly the turbulence behind each bridge pile courtesy of the silt.  This is something that an aerial view will give you that you would no notice as you drove over the bridge.

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A Little SoCal Shoot As I Head Home

Half an hour of spare time on my way back to John Wayne Airport so I figured a quick shoot of approaches was worth a shot.  It wasn’t going to be the most productive of shoots but why waste an opportunity.  There were some regional jets and some airliners while I was there but also a few biz jets showed up.  The sun was getting lower so the light was a bit more appealing.  Even so, just a few stock shots for possible future use.  Two Alaska Embraers came in but they were from different operators, Skywest and Horizon.  I know someone who has a preference there (David).

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Electric Theme to a Park

Newhalem’s role in generating power was reflected in the local park.  It had a center section that had been designed to emphasize the position that electricity has in the town with the pillars supporting the roof frame and the frame itself having an electrical theme.  The big insulators were most obvious but it wasn’t hard to spot other elements too.  A rather individual bit of styling and one that appealed to me.

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DFW

Returning from a work trip to Dallas, I was flying out of DFW.  I got to the airport in plenty of time so, with a bit of time to kill, I decided to take a ride on the train that runs between the terminals.  It makes a loop of the whole airport in both directions.  I decided to see what you could see from the train and did a whole loop of the airport.

First, it is not a great photo platform.  Aside from shooting through the windows (which were actually not that bad), the stations are not well located for viewing the ramps and, when it has a clearer view, it is moving at speed and is a pretty unsteady base for shooting.  There are always reflections too, of course.

DFW is an American hub and that is pretty obvious as you head around the terminals.  No shortage of American jets including a few remaining MD-80s and one of the special scheme jets too.  The longer view across the gates with the multiple fins was a shot you could get at a number of places.  It wasn’t just American though.  Obviously other airlines use the airport.  It happened that a British Airways 747-400 had pushed as we got there and the train runs around the perimeter of that ramp so we saw it from almost all sides.

If you have a bit of spare time while waiting for a flight at DFW, I would definitely take a ride around the terminals.  It is a lot more interesting than sitting waiting at a gate and the food options weren’t great either so take a ride and see what is going on and where people are going to and coming from.

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A Stinking Rarity

Some plants bloom frequently.  Others bloom once a year.  What is slightly more unusual is a plant that only blooms once every 7-10 years.  The Titan Arum is one such plant and an example lives in the Amazon Spheres in Seattle.  Purely by coincidence, we happened to visit the Spheres when it was blooming.  We had actually missed the peak opening by a day and it was starting to close up again.  It had also had a hole cut into the side to allow pollination artificially. But this was a small price to pay for seeing something so unusual.

One feature the plant is known for is a smell of rotting flesh when it is blooming.  This is supposed to attract insects that then assist with pollination.  There was a bit of an odor but, to be honest, I wasn’t conscious of it being too bad.  Maybe there is a peak period of stinkiness and we missed it or maybe the story has been slightly overblown.  Either way, it was very lucky that we happened to be there during the blooming process and now we might have to wait a few years before it happens again.

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Tustin Legacy

I was in southern California for a day and I flew in and out of John Wayne Airport in Orange County.  On the approach to the airport, I got a good view of Tustin.  This is a retired military airfield and, in its earlier days, it had been an airship base.  It still has two large airship hangars in the same style as those I have seen before at Moffett Field and Tillamook.

After my meetings had wrapped up and I was heading back to the airport, I took a few minutes to divert past the hangars and to grab a couple of shots of them.  They are impressive structures and appear to be in great condition.  I have no idea whether they are used much at this point and who looks after them but either they are well taken care of or the southern California climate doesn’t cause them too much trouble.

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Radio Mast In Tokyo

While I was staying in the same hotel as last time during my recent visit to Tokyo, I was on the opposite side of the hotel.  This gave me a view across to a large radio mast a couple of kilometers north of Minato.  In the early evening, the mast picked up the setting sun quite well.  Once things had got dark, it was well illuminated and hard to miss!

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Racing Down the Approach

Shooting parallel approaches at SFO is always fun.  Despite the fact it is a relatively regular occurrence there, it is still a nice photographic challenge.  So often, the approaches are not at exactly the same time and the planes end up being further apart than you want for the shot.  Fisherman’s Park provided an alternative view of the approaches and also gave you new options.  While the jets might be offset, you got them coming towards you, passing you and going away which meant you could use the different perspectives to bring the jets into one frame.

It didn’t hurt that there were quite a few parallel approaches while we were there.  This provided plenty of opportunities to try out some different shots.  It was also good to go wider sometimes to give some context to how the parallel approaches looked.  This is lost if you go too close on them which is something that I tend to do.

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