When we moved to Chicago, our apartment overlooked the Chicago Sun-Times building on Wabash Avenue alongside the Chicago River. This plot was sold off for development with a large tower being built on its site. The construction that followed will be another post but this one relates to the demolition process. The view from our window provided a great view of the tearing down of the old building. It didn’t hurt that much of it was done during the Chicago winter, but I could watch from the comfort of our living room.
The building came down pretty quickly. Crews were using jack hammers to drill out the concrete flooring of each level and the machines that these were mounted on could also pull over the wall sections once cutting torches had taken out key elements of them. There was plenty of cutting going on with torches taken out structure and piping. This didn’t always go smoothly with more than one occasion when the cutting set fire to something and the fire department came to deal with it. A lot of water from the hoses would pour out of the spaces in the walls and, given the low temperatures, lots of icicles would result.
There weren’t too many floors in the building with the lowest levels being where the printing presses had once been. The whole thing came down quickly. It wasn’t an attractive structure so we weren’t so sad to see it go. However, since it was low, it gave us a good view across the river. The new building would be 92 floors tall and was going to take out a chunk of our view but such is the way of things when you live downtown in a city that is constantly evolving.
The heat haze was a bit of a problem on this day so I was hoping that they would roll out a bit long to get into usable range. They couldn’t have been more obliging. It turned out to be a US Marine Corps KC-130J. They didn’t exit early for the taxiway even though they could have done so with ease but instead rolled all the way to near me before exiting and taxiing back to the ramp in the other direction. This was very kind of them. I got them close enough in to have little in the way of heat haze and to get a decent look at them.
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.
I have plenty of photos of Gulfstreams and a few photos of FAA jets – mainly flight checking Learjet 60s. However, the FAA Gulfstreams have not been something I have seen a lot of. I did have a nice chance to shoot one at Washington National many years ago, though. I did see the jets on the ramp at the south end of the field occasionally but I think this was the only time I got one airborne. It was shot from Gravelly Point so I was nice and close to it as it was on final approach. That is a great place to shoot from (or just hang out and watch the planes) and I will have to get back there at some point.
My trawl of the archives is also including airlines that have disappeared. Today’s subject is Midwest Airlines. They operated out of Milwaukee which was not far from me when I lived in Chicago but was not a place I frequented much. The only time I think I shot there was during an open day at the ANG tanker unit based there. I did get some Midwest movements that day. I actually saw more of their jets and Washington National as it happens. It wasn’t an airline I have many shots of in total but here is a selection of what I did get before they disappeared.
If you live in the Seattle to Tacoma area, you get familiar with the phrase “the mountain is out” or “in”. This refers to Mt Rainier which can be shrouded in cloud or out in the sun. As a 14,000’ mountain, it is the most obvious landmark around here. It also drives its own weather systems so the clouds on the mountain are always worth a look. Not so long ago, I was quite taken by the cloud development over the mountain which was a bit different to what I am used to seeing. The boat in the front was not helpful but I wanted to get a shot of the mountain so went for it.
This 737 was sitting on the ramp at Boeing Field, apparently getting ready to move. It showed up online as a variety of possible owners including Aramco. However, I thought I knew who it really belonged to and it did indeed turn out to be used by the Federal Government. I think it is part of the US Marshal service and I suspect it is being used to transport individuals that are not popular with law enforcement to a new location. I don’t know whether that is internal transport or deportation but I suspect I don’t want to be on one of those flights. They certainly don’t divert any funding to painting the jets!
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.
I got lucky on the timing for one thing during this whole adventure. I was sitting at home playing around with some images and decided I wanted to create a couple of prints. One was a print of the hummingbirds from the back yard and the other was a poster I decided to make of a bunch of lifeboat shots from our visit to the UK last year. My usual print outlet is Mpix so I created the files, uploaded them and sent the order. A few days later a large package arrived on the porch. Shortly before it arrived, I got a message from Mpix saying that they were suspending work as a result of the virus. They are based in Kansas so I guess it took a while to get to them. I am really happy with the prints and it reminded me of how much a physical print is better than looking at something on a screen. I will have to print more when they are back up and running.
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.