Tag Archives: photo

UPS Getting Very Busy

In the run up to Christmas, online retail had clearly been very busy.  UPS runs their Seattle flights to Boeing Field and, while I was there, the traffic levels were well above the norm.  I have posted the Asia Pacific 757 freighter in a previous post but UPS’s own fleet were really moving.  Arrivals and departures were pretty frequent.  As soon as the jets were on the ramp, the team whirled into motion getting the containers off and loading up the outbound loads.

High ISO Shooting and Processing Technique

I watched a video on YouTube about a way to process shots taken in low light with high ISOs to improve the noise performance.  I wasn’t particularly interested in the approach until I was down on the shore as the sun was going down and I was using a long lens.  I figured this might be a good time to try it out.  The approach is to shoot a lot of shots.  You can’t have anything moving in the shots for this to work but, if it is a static scene, the approach can be used.

Shoot as many shots as you can.  Then import them in to Photoshop as layers.  Use the align function to make sure that they are all perfectly aligned and then use the statistics function to do a mean calculation of the image.  You can do this a couple of ways in Photoshop.  You can make a smart object and then process it or you can process through Statistics.  The averaging function takes a lot of the noise out of the shot.  If you have lots of images, you can make it effectively disappear.  I wasn’t prepared to make that many shots but I tried it with a reasonable number of images.  The whole image isn’t really of interest.  Instead, I include one of the images cropped in and the processed image similarly cropped to allow you to compare.

Boeing Dash 80

While the Comet may have been the first jet airliner, it was a configuration that was not well suited to development.  Boeing put together its development approach to the jet airliner through a project called the Dash 80.  The shape of the airframe may look familiar but this was a one off.  It was a hand built aircraft and undertook development that then migrated into two further airframes.  One was what became the C-135 family while the other was enlarged and became the Boeing 707.

The Dash 80 get used for all sorts of things but finally ended being donated to the Smithsonian and ferried to the Udvar-Hazy facility at Dulles.  That is where I got to see it on a visit there in the mid 2000s.  I haven’t been back since and would love to check this place out again.  Here are some old shots of this historic jet.

It’s Not an Island – It’s a Wreck

On the road from Anacortes to the ferry terminal, you have the water off to your right.  As I glanced over, I realized that, what I thought was a spur of the land, was actually the wreck of a ship.  The prow of the hull was the thing that first caught my attention so, when I came back, I stopped off to take a closer look.

The ship is a decent size – it reminded me of the old clipper hulls.  It is a wooden hull and the shape of the bow is clearly very dated.  It has been there so long that there are trees and plants that are well established on it.  That was why I almost missed it.  It just looks like part of the land.  You could easily miss that it was a ship as I had done every time that I previously came this way.  Now it is just part of the harbor wall. More to come on this.

Diffraction Problems with Window Screens

Occasionally I will get aircraft heading in to Boeing Field come right by the house.  Late Friday afternoon, two Boeing test jets were coming my way.  One was the first 777X and the other was that first 737 Max7.  The usual route brings them just slightly north of the house so I was ready.  However, the Max was heading just slightly south of the normal track and looked like it might go the other side of the house.  At the last minute, I realized it would and ran through the the other side.

I got the window open but didn’t have time to remove the screen.  I thought it would take out some light but figured the large aperture of a big lens would just blur out the screen mesh since it was so close.  Through the viewfinder, things look pretty good.  However, when I downloaded the shots, I realized the shots were totally awful.  The screens had caused shadowing of the images.  The center image was there but I could see shadow versions about and below.  Then I got to one with a beacon flashing and that showed exactly how the pattern of light was scattered.  Based on what I see, I assume this is a diffraction effect.  It is a useless shot but it is very interesting which is why I am sharing it.

What Was Once a Tank

The new ferry terminal at Mukilteo is located on the site of what was once an Air Force fuel tank farm.  There is not much left to give that role away anymore but the shape of the tanks is still visible on the ground.  One of them still seems to have some of the old tank material left over too.  Not sure what the story is with cleaning up the site and removing the material but it isn’t cordoned off so I guess it has been decontaminated.

Old Children’s Hospital S-76

Quite a few years back, I was at Van Nuys when the Children’s Hospital Sikorsky S-76 flew over on final approach.  I found out a little while later that this helicopter had been donated by Helinet.  I found this while talking to Alan Purwin who ran the company prior to his death.  It was a nice looking helicopter which isn’t hard since the S-76, while an old design, is a sleek looking machine.

I made a detour recently to Anacortes airport, purely because I had never been there before.  Nothing much was going on but, stored at one end of the airfield was this S-76.  It looked exactly the same.  The registration had been changed but zooming in on the airframe, I could just make out the outline of the old numbers.  Sure enough, it is the same airframe.  Clearly, it isn’t looking like it is going anywhere soon but it did provide years of good service.

Snow Geese in the Northwest

The visit of snow geese to the region is a regular feature of winter near Puget Sound.  We went to Fir Island a couple of years ago to see the birds and I spent a free weekend day mooching around the area to see what I could see.  I knew that there were plenty of geese around because, when I stopped off to photograph something else, there were endless flocks of them flying overhead.  Sometimes they would be in tight formations and then others, they would seem to be a bit disorganized.

When on Fir Island, I came around a corner and realized that they had found a field of interest not far from the road.  Pulling off to one side, they were a little further away than ideal but a long lens would help.  As I focused on them, I saw a bunch of birds coming in to land in the background.  I snapped away quickly as I didn’t want to miss this shot.  I needn’t have worried.  There didn’t seem to be any limit to the number of these geese as more just kept on coming.

It really is quite impressive to see so many of these geese in one place.  They travel in huge groups – presumably for safety – and the local farmers are encouraged to plant crops that support their visits in winter.  They must clean out a field at a time and then move on.  Presumably they do some good work fertilizing the fields in the process.

China Airlines Cargo 777F

We were walking along the shore in Mukilteo on a sunny Saturday afternoon when I looked up and saw something large on the approach to Paine Field.  At first I assumed it was one of the scheduled E175s but, as I pulled the camera up to my eye, I realized it was a 777.  As it got closer, it was apparent that it was a China Airlines Cargo freighter on test – the first time I have seen one.  The midwinter light made for a nice shot.

QE2 Sails to the Falklands – A Crappy 110 Shot

My negative scanning exploits have been covered a fair bit on this blog.  Up to now, this has been focused on my 35mm films.  However, when I was a kid, I had a 110 film camera.  This was not what you would consider the pinnacle of photographic technology.  It was a small, plastic camera with a lens that I doubt was up to much.  110 film came in a cartridge and was tiny so you were making an image on a small frame with a dodgy lens and nothing much you could control.

I didn’t know what I was doing so we were destined for great results!  I didn’t understand how much light would be available so would take shots indoors without a flash and be shocked that nothing came out or that it was very blurry.  The viewfinder was offset so you had parallax issues which became apparent when you tried to photograph something up close.  All in all, not great.  However, for general shots, it would give you a result.  Not a good result but a result.

I dug out some of these 110 negatives to see what I could find.  Some of the shots, while not of any quality, are historically significant.  In 1982, we were living in a flat on the waterfront in Cowes.  We had a lovely view across the Solent.  We could see from directly north off to the east.  Part of the building obscured our view to the west but our bathroom had a small window that looked across the roof and could give a less obscured view to the west.  It was from here I photographed the QE2 as she sailed for the Falklands.

She had been requisitioned for the war and went into Southampton to be modified.  The rear decks were cut back and the swimming pools plated over to make helicopter landing pads.  All the nice stuff was taken out and she sailed with 5 Brigade aboard heading for an uncertain future.  She came out Southampton Water, negotiated around Brambles Bank and then came past us and on her way.  At one point a pair of Sea Kings flew over the top.

Canberra’s departure and return were bigger events for us when they happened and I remember them both vividly.  QE2 came back on a school day and I could see her coming up the Solent from the tower building in the center of the school but it was a distant return.  Canberra came back at the weekend and was part of an amazing flotilla as everyone seemed to be out to greet her.  I have no shots of that!