The day was fast running out and I was thinking about heading for home but one of the two 777X test aircraft out showed signs of heading home to BFI so I figured I would wait around for it. It looked like it would get back before the end of the light with a bit of margin so I decided it was good to wait. I have not shot a 777 landing from this location so wanted to get the shot.
However, while the time was looking good compared to sunset, it was not looking so good when thinking of the weather. There were some dark and stormy clouds off to the southwest and they seemed to be getting closer. As the 777X got to the city, I figured a coat was in order since it looked like the rain might arrive first.
Indeed it did and this brought the light levels way down. As it came down the approach, it was shrouded in rain and made for a less than distinct shape to shoot. Certainly not what I had been hoping for. However, why wait all that time and not take the shots. It touched down in the heavy rain but at least the reduced distance meant things weren’t as obscured. It rolled out and turned off the runway but I decided I was already done and headed to the car and dry warmth.
Over six months ago, the Honeywell Boeing 757 testbed ferried from Phoenix – its home base – to Paine Field for maintenance work at ATS. I don’t know whether there were mods to be done too but, with a jet like this, that wouldn’t seem to be a stretch. I only found out it was there when I saw it outside the ATS hangars one time. I figured this was one to watch since it would have to go home at some point.
Whether there was a ton to be done or whether COVID delayed progress, I don’t know. However, it stayed at ATS for a long time. I had an alert on it should a flight plan be filed but nothing happened. I talked to other people up there and we all wondered when it would move. Then, finally a flight plan was filed for a flight coming back to Paine Field. This was good news since it would mean taxi shots, departure and arrival. I headed up. First flight after a long layup is not likely to go smoothly and the time for departure kept slipping and slipping. Eventually, later in the day, the flight disappeared off FlightAware.
A few days later, up it popped online again. Unfortunately, this time it was a flight direct to Phoenix so redelivery. That was unfortunate. So was the fact that we were experiencing some torrential rains. However, this is a rare one so I headed up. As per the last time, the departure time slipped a bit but then it pulled on to the taxiway heading for the runway. Amazingly, the rain had abated and it looked very promising. I got out of the car and walked to the bank to get some shots. At some point, I began to feel some rain drops. Then I felt what seemed to be the stream from a fire hose. The rain came pummeling down and I was instantly soaked. At this point, I was wet so no point heading back to the car.
When they got to the hold point, they stayed around for a while. Then someone came to the door on our side and opened it. I imagine they were getting pretty wet doing this since I was. As it sat there at low power, it was still pulling a vortex into the inlet of one of the engines. Maybe there was a door open warning but they closed it again and then pulled towards the active runway. The plane is covered in graphics pointing at parts of the airframe that have Honeywell technology installed. Its most distinguishing feature, though, is the pylon mounted on the side of the front fuselage on which turboprop engines can be mounted for airborne testing. No engines are there at the moment but the pylon itself is pretty substantial. Coming towards us and then lining up, we had the pylon on our. Side. They powered up and disappeared in to the gloom as they climbed out heading home to Phoenix.
I was recently watching a video of a landscape photographer and he took a trip to the Hoh Rain Forest on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. Nancy and I went there on a vacation a few years ago and I posted about it here. I decided to go back and look at some of the images from that visit and see what I liked. I had taken a bunch of photos in multiple locations on that trip and I found that I had not really given many of the shots any effort.
I decided to take a look at both those that I shared in the original post but also some “new” ones. I realized that a little effort made the images so much more interesting. The rain forest is so lush and there is so much green that it almost seems unnatural. I brought down the exposures a bit and did punch of the saturation a little. It does look a little overdone but I assure you it is actually a reflection of what the place is really like. I think digital cameras tend to tone down greens a bit and, when the place you are looking at is all green, this is a bit of a problem that needs to be addressed.
Oho is about four hours drive from where we are now. A bit of a trek for a day out but I think a trip over to that side of the peninsula is definitely something we should do again before too long. We can also check out the coastline over there which is really stunning.
I posted some shots of the jets at Haneda reversing thrust and throwing up a lot of spray in the process as a result of the rain that day. Stills can be good for showing off spray but the motion of the spray in the reverser flows is more apparent in video. Consequently, I shot a bunch of video that day. Only recently have I caught up with my video editing backlog courtesy of the ample time I have at home as a result of not being able to go out anywhere. Here is a sample of the airliner movements from that day.
My wait at Boeing Field for the 777X coincided with some very changeable weather. The wind was strong and gusty for the whole time but what started out as wet and dreary gradually cleared up to be a sunny end to the day. I shot a couple of 737s as well as some corporate jets. When the 737 Max 7 test aircraft came in, it was absolutely hammering it down and the plane was pretty obscured by the rain. When a Max 8 on a test flight came in later, things had cleared up quite a bit. It wasn’t sunny at that point but there was a hint of light improvement which was making the green protective film shine a little more. By the time the 777X came in, the sun was out!
I was a bit annoyed that my one spare day in Tokyo was a rainy one. I didn’t have any great plans for the day other than getting adjusted to the time but, when I knew it was raining, I almost didn’t even bother with Haneda. However, in the absence of another plan, I decided to go. The thing I liked about it was that, with the rain falling, the runway was wet. This resulted in a lot of moisture being thrown up in the air by the jets as they reversed thrust. Some went for minimum reverse but others went for a bunch of throttle as they aimed to stop in time for the exit they were aiming for.
Based on a Global Express business jet, the RAF’s Sentinel battlefield surveillance jet has plenty of lumps and bumps to distinguish it but the paint scheme is a different story. It is painted plain gray and, aside from one example I saw at Red Flag, it doesn’t have any interesting squadron markings. The Friday of RIAT was a very wet a dreary day but this had the effect of making the Sentinel look rather glossy. I have never seen them look too interesting before (aside from Red Flag) but this looked okay. I did shoot it departing too on an overcast day and it didn’t look too bad then so maybe this one was fresh out of the paint shop?
My inability to see a Boeing T-33 jet in nice conditions continues. I was at Boeing Field when one of the T-33s was taking off in support of a Pegasus test mission. The weather was crappy with rain and a heavy overcast. I thought that this was not going to work well but sometimes bad weather provides good opportunities so I gave it a go. Besides, I don’t see them enough to pass it by. As it turned out, the flat conditions and the dampness made the jet show up nicely against the background when it was still low on climb out. Once it was against the sky, things weren’t so great but it turned out a lot better than I expected.
I have shot KC-46s in bad conditions more often than would seem probable. I got one in conditions so dark it was like a night shoot. This time it was heavy rain. Of course that can mean vapor. The matte gray of fuselage actually looks better when it is wet. I had hoped the inlets would fog but that didn’t happen. However, the flat light helped the fuselage a bit which often gets too contrasts. Besides that it throws up a ton of spray behind it as it accelerates down the runway. Rotating in front of me meant I was rather happy with the result compared to what I expected.
The day I was flying out of Narita was not a good day for weather. Another typhoon was approaching and the rain ahead of the storm had reached us. I did initially visit the viewing terrace in the terminal but, as the rain started, I decided to head inside and go to the Delta lounge which has a great view of the runway and the ramp. It wasn’t long before the heavens opened. Departures reversed direction as the wind shifted.
The arriving jets were now throwing up huge clouds of spray as they selected reverse. Combined with the heavy rain already, they were pretty obscured. Editing the photos allows you to do a lot of work with the contrast to bring out more of the detail but the real view was surprisingly limited. Some of the shots are so hidden by rain that there is little that can be done with them. Departures also did a good job throwing up lots of water in their wake.
The amount of moisture in the air meant the inlets would often be fogged, even for the jets that were landing. Trailing vortices were showing on climb out and there was lots of vapor over the wings after takeoff. The only downside to all of this was that the cloudy background makes it harder to apprecaite the effects that were on show. It does show, though, that a rainy day is not necessarily one to be ignored from a photography perspective. You can sometimes get some interesting shots in conditions that seem very unappealing. (It doesn’t hurt to be shooting this from indoors in a warm and dry room with a ready supply of food and beverages.)