November and December in Washington were pretty dry. For a state known for damp winters, we were rather lacking in rain. January and February decided to make up for that and we had days of rain and not just showers but really heavy rainfall. Local rivers are in flood all over the region. Snoqualmie Falls were on TV as the flow over the falls was raging. We have seen a variety of flow levels in our different visits based on river levels and the power generation requirements. This looked more than we had seen before and a visit seemed worthwhile.
We weren’t the only ones with this idea. Plenty of people were there and, talking to others after our visit, they all seemed to have visited too. The full width of the falls was covered and the roar of the crashing water was impressive. What was also dramatic was the impact on the viewing areas. The spray from the falls was being driven up the side of the rocks by the wind and so, while the surrounding area was dry, in the immediate vicinity of the falls, it was raining pretty heavily. One guy I talked to had his camera stop working it got so wet.
This made getting photos quite tricky. While the cameras I had were up to the task, keeping the front of the lens dry was a difficult task. The sun angle also meant any water on the lens was more conspicuous than normal. At first I tried to keep it clear but I soon gave up and just went with whatever I could get. We then went to the river in order to walk up towards the bottom of the falls. However, this had been closed off, presumably because of the river levels, so I couldn’t get the other shots I was hoping for.
The first flight of the 777X took place while I was out of the country which annoyed me quite a bit. Having seen the things sitting around at Everett for ages and even watched the taxi trials, I was in the wrong place when they finally got airborne. However, with an extensive flight test program to come, I knew there would be other opportunities. I did manage to be at Boeing Field for a departure on one of the flights. Conditions weren’t great, though.
With the viewing area closed while Boeing parks 737s wherever it can find a space, I was a long way from the rotation point. It was in the rain as it rolled and, while it stayed below the clouds until well past me, things were not ideal. Still, I had seen it fly.
On another occasion I was able to be there when it returned. This had also been a day with some pretty crummy conditions but this time I was seeing the weather starting to improve as the day wore on. A little bit of a wait while they flew test activities over Central Washington was not such a bad thing. Indeed, as they turned for home, the sun was coming out. However, the wind was not abating!
When they called up on approach, I wandered to one side to see how far up the approach I could see. Despite me being to the right side of the runway from their perspective, when I first got a good shot, the jet was actually pointing beyond me to the right. The crosswind was obviously pretty strong. Early in the flight test program, I wonder whether they really wanted to be testing this capability. Of course this then meant I got a head on view as they got closer before running past me. Shots in nice light! Happy guy. In the next year we shall see plenty of these but, for now, I am happy to have got something reasonable of this airframe off the ground.
One of the things I thought I knew about the Seattle area was that it didn’t snow very much. In our first winter here, we had one snowy day and it thawed very rapidly. This winter has been a bit different. We have had a couple of large storms come through. The area is not well prepared for snow and the steep grades are not good when things get slippery. Here are some shots from around our area during and after the snows.
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.)
When you first think of Los Angeles, you think of sun and warm weather. It is true that a lot of the time, this will be what you get in Southern California, but it is not always the case. On the first day of my trip down to LA, I had intended to get some flying in. The weather had other ideas. The cloud base was low and waves of rain were coming through the area. Just when the sun came out and you thought it was okay, another bunch of clouds would roll in and, if you didn’t get under cover quickly, you would get drenched by some torrential rain. This does, of course, provide for a shot of LAX that you don’t normally get!
When the weather starts to turn, you can assume that whatever you are waiting for is likely to show up just after it gets bad. In this case, a KC-46 Pegasus was on its way back to Boeing Field and the clouds were rolling in. Things were getting darker and it looked like the clouds would open. Meanwhile, the KC-46 was still a distance away.
Sure enough, the skies opened. By the time the jet was on final approach, the light had disappeared and the rain was belting down. I got some shots of it but, even with a bunch of exposure compensation, the jet was more of a silhouette than anything else. A little post processing help brought out the detail but this was not an ideal shooting situation. A dark grey jet in dying light is just what you want!
The stormy skies over the Island were very active in the Sandown Bay area. In the course of a couple of minutes, you could see the valleys on the opposite side of the bay have clouds wisp across them and then suddenly vanish from view entirely. They could be back a few minutes later and then gone again. The wind was blowing things through very rapidly. For a few moments, there were some great beams of light punching through the clouds and illuminating the water beneath. I was lucky to be able to get a few shots off before the clouds rolled through again and cut of the sun altogether.
We drove along the seafront from Cowes to Gurnard. The tide was high and the storm was bringing a swell in from the west. Consequently, there was a lot of water along the road with sections under a few inches. Some caution as we drove and we could get through. Meanwhile, the waves were bashing in to the wall and splashing high in the air. With the wind being so strong, it was tricky to hold steady for a shot and I was also a bit vulnerable to getting a lot of spray in the face. However, I managed to get some shots and some video while minimizing how damp I got and how much salt water got near the camera.
As a kid, I always loved being down on the seafront when the weather was stormy. It is way more fun to watch the waves crash in than to see a calm sea. This proved to be a perfect day for me to visit as the following day things had calmed right down.
My trip to the Island was in the middle of Storm Brian. It was lashing some parts of the country and the western end of the Island was apparently getting some serious wind but the east side was enjoying a bit of shelter. That didn’t mean there wasn’t still some strong wind and a decent amount of wave action. What better time for someone to go windsurfing? Actually, several people were windsurfing. One of them was close to where I was standing on the shore and, as he went out, he was running against the waves but with the wind behind him. I was hoping for some big jumps off the waves but, while there were jumps, they were not too big. He was certainly braver than I would have been though!
Mum and I drove along the shore of Sandown Bay while I was visiting. The rain was blowing through and the result was a rainbow that was hanging over the cliffs up on Culver. I had a long lens on at the time so my only option was to try and shoot a bunch of images and create a panorama. I didn’t do a good job of it because I missed some areas and the software struggled to align the images because there was so much sky so I ended up sorting it out by hand. This shot was the result.