A while back, I had a spate of photographing Lear 60s at Boeing Field. The Lear 60 is not a rare jet but nor is it particularly common so seeing a few in a short space of time, caught my attention back then. The 60 was Learjet’s effort to stretch as much as they could from what they already had. They took the existing wing and added a bigger fuselage. This was possibly the limit of what could be done with that wing.
I think it is a slightly disproportionate looking aircraft. The fuselage looks a bit chunky, the wing seems small for the fuselage, the undercarriage appears to have been carried over so the wheels look particularly small for the overall size. It is a bit of an odd one. Even so, I still like it when they show up. Since they have been out of production for a while, they will start to disappear. They will be around for a while but will progressively become less common. I wonder how many times I shall have so many encounters in a short space of time.
A walk in Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle took us by one of the ponds that is covered in lilies. Unlike when I was in Juanita Bay, this pond allowed me to get down to water level. This provided a far more interesting perspective across the pond to the trees behind. It did put me very close to the foreground elements so I focused stacked some shots to provide a deeper focused range across the shot. I far prefer the lower angle as it really emphasizes the foreground elements in a way that isn’t possible when higher up.
The arboretum in Seattle is unsurprisingly home to many interesting varieties of trees and plants. One tree that caught my eye was (perhaps) a type of willow that had bark that peeled to reveal an intense red coloration beneath. Sometimes these colors don’t seem to show up as well in an image but I fortunately had a polarizer with me and that took out some of the reflection and glare and allowed the color to show up well. Cropping in tighter seemed to make more sense, too.
It’s not unusual to see Canadian A320s in Boeing Field. They provide a lot of sports charters but, until recently, these were usually undertaken by Jetz aircraft. More recently, it seems that they have transitioned to jets in the Air Canada core colors. Since Air Canada has been taking delivery of lots of 737 Max aircraft recently, maybe they are cascading some of the older mainline jets to the charter operations. I don’t really know. I only know I have shot a few of their aircraft at Boeing Field recently.
Regular readers of the blog will know that there are certain types that I seem destined to struggle to shoot in decent light. It might be the nicest of days, but the sun will go behind a cloud just before the intended subject appears. I thought the Mitsubishi MU-2 was one of those types but, a few months back, I finally got lucky. One came into Boeing Field on a day with good sun. Not the perfect conditions but it was still a relief to finally get some shots when it wasn’t overcast!
I have been messing around with low shutter speeds for traffic at Boeing Field a lot this year. Some of those shots have made their way into posts on here. One sunny afternoon, I was at the field and there was a lot of business jet traffic but nothing terribly special. This provides a good opportunity to try different things. I had the polarizer and a neutral density filter. The polarizer is good on sunny days for taking down the glare and it also cuts the light. However, the neutral density can really pull the shutter speed down.
Since I didn’t care if the shots were a failure, I was willing to just keep bringing the shutter speed down and down. I compensated by cranking up the frame rate in order to increase the probability of getting a sharp one. This is an interesting challenge. Normally I spend a bit of time culling out shots that just aren’t sharp but, when playing with silly shutter speeds, you need to re-calibrate just how sharp things should be. What is a little off when zoomed in might be of no concern when looking at the full image. That is not an excuse to let plainly bad shots through though.
Here are some of the results that weren’t too bad. Even an average Challenger can look a little more interesting with a very blurry background!
My buddy Chris was visiting Seattle but was stuck in the arrivals line at the airport. I was waiting to pick him up but, since it was taking longer than expected, I was checking out some other movements. An Everts MD-83 was scheduled out of Boeing Field. The weather was not great, and I didn’t know when Chris would finally get through immigration, but I figured I would give it a go. Sadly for Chris, the MD-83 got moving faster than him. It was on its way long before he finally got out. I had plenty of time to get back to SEA to pick him up.
Talon Air’s Hawker 4000 came to Boeing Field and my shots of its arrival have already had their own post. However, while I was reviewing the shots when I got home, something seemed a little odd between the shots. Something seemed to be flapping around on the lower rear fuselage. I zoomed in to the shots and there was an access panel that was unsecured. Its angle was changing between shots, so it was clearly moving around in the airflow. From what I can gather, this is probably where the fueling port is located. These doors are tough, so it was probably fine, but I wonder whether any damage was done on a long flight.
I was chatting with one of the King County Sheriff team that looks after King County Airport (Boeing Field). We were standing by one of their fire trucks for airport operations and he suggested I take a look around the cab. We didn’t have a load of time but it was very cool to see the configuration of the vehicle. There is a central seat with controls on one side for the vehicle and on the other for the firefighting equipment. There are seats either side of the cab for additional crew. They have facilities for their breathing equipment so the crew can be strapped into the tanks while in their seats and ready to deploy as soon as they reach a fire. It would have been fun to chat further with the guy about their operations but the event we were both there for started up so we both had somewhere else to be.
A few times a year, Boeing Field is treated to the arrival of a Hawker 4000. This was not a successful jet for Hawker and so they are far from common. I have shot them on occasions, and they have probably got blog posts when I did. I saw this one coming in one weekend so headed over to see it. When I looked up the operator, Talon Air, I was interested to see on their website that they have quite the collection of 4000s. I guess owning a bunch of them makes supporting them a little easier. Annoyingly, another one was at BFI while I was there and got towed near me before I realized what it was. It didn’t fly while I was there unfortunately.