Tag Archives: california

Photographing the Moon

I was skimming through some photos and saw one of the moon I liked.  It made me see what others I had shot over the years.  I used to shoot the moon a lot when we lived in Chicago but haven’t done so much since.  One shot is from California as the moon was setting over the hills while the sun was coming up.  Others have involved cloudy nights that make for unusual shadows.  I also decided to make a bit of an edit to one of the shots based on a picture I saw on someone’s shelf on a video I was watching.  One for the Star Wars fans out there.

Looking Down on SF Bay

As we left San Francisco after our brief visit in January, I was on the side of the plane looking down on the Bay as climbed out and headed north.  The usual departures of the 01s take you straight out over the bay and then you turn north as you head towards Oakland.  The lighting was a bit harsh on this day but it was a good view of the city as we made our way home.

Some Old SFO Jumbos

The 747 was still the mainstay of many long haul operations when I started shooting digital and SFO was a place that was served by a bunch of airlines using the type.  I used to go to SFO quite a bit when I lived in Chicago because work brought me to the Bay Area frequently.  That meant I got some opportunities to shoot the movements there.  Of course, in due course we moved to the Bay Area so I got more chances but, by then, the 747s were swiftly disappearing and the 777 was becoming dominant.

Here is a selection of shots of different marques of 747 and different operators all operating in to SFO.  Hope they amuse a few of you.

Drone F-4s at Mojave

Before the F-16s became the drone target conversion of choice for the USAF, the F-4 was the jet. The contract for conversion was run by Tracor which ultimately ended up being part of BAE Systems at the time I saw these jets.  They did the conversion program at Mojave Airport in California.  We were a bit of a distance from the ramp where they were parked but it was early in the day and the heat haze was not yet a problem so a long shot was feasible.  Looking at these, I think they were both RF-4C jets that had either been converted or were about to be.

Edwards F-16s

Another day, another retro post.  I am pleasantly surprised by what I find as I go through old shots since I am not able to get any new shots while we are all self-isolating.  In this case it was a visit to Edwards AFB that was a pre-symposium trip ahead of an ISAP meeting.  I think Richard was the one that organized it all.  Anyway, the Edwards test fleet includes a bunch of F-16s.  Some are from the test pilot school and some are test program assets or chase planes.  There was also a Danish jet that was supporting the F-35 program.

We got to hang out on the ramp as see the jets under the shelters as well as get up close and personal as they were heading out for a mission and recovering.  We later went out to shoot near the runway which was fun but not ideal from a shooting perspective because of heat haze.  Who would have thought the Mojave Desert would have heat haze!  Still better than a day at work of course.

Here are a bunch of shots from that day.  I haven’t been through most of these for ages so it is interesting to see what upgrading them to the latest editing algorithms of Lightroom can do for the processing results.  I have yet to find one that doesn’t look better with the new processes applied.

Cable Car After Dark

The cable cars are a staple of the San Francisco tourist scene.  I still grab the occasional shot of them, even having seen them more times than I can recall.  As we were walking back one evening after a fun night out with friends, we crossed the street at Union Square as one was heading up Powell.  I figured an evening shot was worth the effort.

Gondola That Doesn’t Go Far

If you want to get from street level to the Salesforce Park, there is a more unusual method.  A gondola runs from the ground up to the park level.  We first came across it as we walked through the park and passed the top station.  For some reason they only want you to use it in one direction so we watched the car come up and then moved on.

After we had come back downstairs, we checked out the base station.  It was not a busy day so there wasn’t any form of line but there were customers taking the ride to the top.  It was a simple device and slightly odd.  The car was a box with no effort made to style it in an interesting way.  However, it did provide a point of interest.

San Francisco Waterfront

The waterfront at the Embarcadero is a very attractive place to wander around.  What I have rarely had a good view of, though, is the view from above.  Fortunately, a friend of ours works down there and, when we visited, he took us up to have a look at the view.  We stopped in at the end of the work day so it was still daylight.  The view of the Ferry Building and across the Bay Bridge was very nice.

We did stop in again after dinner since the night view is a great one too.  San Francisco on a sunny evening is a fun place to be with old friends.  It does have its quirks though!

Rebuilding the Taxiways at LAX

In recent years, LAX underwent a reconfiguration of the norther runways.  I understand this was partly to accommodate the A380 operations which, when initially introduced, created some restrictions on other operations as a result of the runway spacing.  They respaced the runways.  I wondered whether any of the aerial photos I had taken at LAX showed the differences that had been made.

My first flight was during the reconfiguration process.  The change to one of the runways had already been made and could be seen in the spare surface were the original northerly edge had been.  Other work was underway around the thresholds and in the underrun.  The photos from later show the finished configuration.  The threshold of the inner runway has been moved from its original location and the underrun work is now complete.  Things like runways feel like they should be so permanent but, as with any man made construction, they can be taken apart and rebuilt if that is what is needed.

Salesforce Park

During our visit to San Francisco, some friends told us to check out Salesforce Park.  This is a park that has been built on top of the transit center in the heart of the city.  The transit center is, by demand, a large area so the space on top of it makes for a decent area.  The park was fun to wander around.  It is surrounded by some interesting buildings which will warrant their own posts in due course.

There are seating areas, children’s play areas, an amphitheater, a dome over an atrium for the transit center itself and plenty of plants.  The plant beds are broken down into categories covering different types and plants and different origins for the plants.  There are sculptures around the park including one that is a series of water jets.  These are triggered by sensors in the transit center such that, as a bus drives beneath them, they squirt up.  A bus driving the length of the lane beneath has a sequence of jets that will ripple along the sculpture.  We were there when one bus passed beneath and, having been hoping for some action (aside from the occasional random jet of water), we were almost caught out when the wave of jets came by.

If we hadn’t been told about the park, I would never have known.  Even when we got to the entrance area, it was a little inconspicuous.  It is worth a visit if you are passing by.  There is also a more interesting entrance than the elevators but that will have to wait for another post.