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.
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!
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.
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!
The evening departure of the C-32 was covered in this previous post. I hinted then about the arrival of some of the passengers. I’m not sure where they had been visiting but they returned Ina. Three ship of Black Hawks. Some of those who had been around earlier in the day had seen the departure and apparently it followed the same process.
The three ship of Black Hawks flew downwind on the west side of the field having approached from the south. They then turned to final in a stream, descending to a lower level and flying the length of the runway prior to setting down near the fire station and close to the awaiting C-32. Since it was late in the day, the light on them was really nice once they were over the field (conversely, they were seriously backlit while downwind).
After dropping off their passengers, they pulled up and departed back to the south, presumably heading towards JBLM. I haven’t seen any UH-60s for a while so this was a nice change from the norm. It was also fun looking at the crew on board with the helmet and face masks as they looked back at us. Hopefully they didn’t mind being photographed too much!
I have posted a couple of times with ferries at Guemes Island and Lummi Island. While I mainly was shooting stills at these locations, I did get some video too. When the boats are being tossed about, I figured that video was a better way of conveying what the conditions were like. Below are a couple of videos I edited of the two ferries.
I decided to try a little experiment with my slide scanning. Having scanned a bunch of slides and negatives using a DSLR and macro lens set up, I had come across a few slides where the image just didn’t seem to work out very well. A big part of this is that the original slides were not very well exposed so I was starting from a less than ideal place. However, when editing the raw file, I found I wasn’t able to get a balance of exposures that I liked, despite slides supposedly having a very narrow dynamic range.
Since I could see some detail in the original slide, I figured an HDR approach might be of use. I took three shots of the slide with differing exposure – an inconvenient thing to do when tethered since the AEB function didn’t seem to work on the 40D in that mode – and then ran the HDR function in Lightroom on the three exposures. Despite the borders possibly confusing the algorithm, it seemed to do a pretty reasonable job of getting more of the image in a usable exposure range. This is not a great image and would not normally be making it to the blog but, as an example of getting something more out of a problem shot, I thought it might be of interest to someone.
It seems like we get one big snow storm a year where we live. It might not last long (although it has once) but it can give us a decent dump of snow. This year was the same thing. We got about a foot of snow. The weather warmed up soon afterwards but for a couple of days, we had lots of snow. I took a walk around to see what it was like. Quite a slow walk given how deep the snow was in places. Here are some shots from that weekend. I also took some video while I was out so the video clip is below too. The best bit was the guy with the ATV pulling a bunch of people around on sleds! They looked like they were having a blast.
A nice bonus during my evening photographing at Paine Field was the visit of a 777X test airframe from Boeing Field. They often file to go to Paine for a low approach and maybe some pattern work before returning to Boeing Field but don’t always follow through – sometimes just heading back to BFI. This time, they did show up. A nice evening with smooth conditions and they flew down the approach before powering up and going around as they cross the airfield boundary. A few shots in nice light are always welcome.
Over the years I have driven down to Olympia on many occasions for both work and pleasure. As you go south of DuPont, you pass the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Having gone past it on many occasions, I have often wondered what it is like. A photographer I met at Juanita Bay and who posts a lot of great wildlife photos on Instagram, posted a few pictures from Nisqually and that made me stop pondering a visit and actually get on with going there.
The website for the refuge mentions that the time of the tides is useful for visiting with high tide being a time that is popular. The Sunday that was coming had high tide at lunchtime so I figured I should go. The weather forecast was less promising with lots of rain but wildlife is not bothered by rain and so I thought I should go and just dress accordingly.
It certainly did rain. At times it was driving in with heavy squalls and I was glad to have put full waterproofs on. It also meant that I was pretty much alone since no other fool was out in such conditions. There are some short loop trails near the visitor center but then you can walk out on to the tidal flats. An elevated boardwalk has been constructed which actually goes out for about a mile and a half. I didn’t realize how long it was at first but, as it zigzags its way across the flats, you realize that there are many more zigs and zags to come and that you have a long way to go.
Since I had already made the effort to be there, why not continue on my way. The weather was changing a lot during this time. The rain got replaced with sun and clear skies before another squall moved in and it started chucking it down again. Ultimately, as I headed back, it cleared up again and then I found I was rather overdressed for the conditions and got quite warm.
It was a pretty place to be and I will certainly head back again. Whether I choose to do so in pouring rain, we shall see…