I had a lucky break one evening when I headed up to Paine Field for one thing, only to discover that the 777-9 development airframe was undergoing taxi tests. I got there to see it on the Boeing ramp with cooling fans running to cools the brakes. I was worried that I may have missed all of the action but this was not the case. They had two more taxi trials that they ran before wrapping up. Each time they would have a brake cooling session with the fans.
The engines are a problem at the moment so they don’t have a flight clearance. That means that the taxi trials will not get too fast. High speed taxi trials require a flight clearance to be available should the aircraft get airborne by accident. These were not going to do anything like that so no lifting the nose wheel. Just accelerate down the runway, gather data points and apply the brakes. I wrote a piece for GAR which is here that covered the trial and there is some video below which includes a head on view of the folding wingtips being lowered into the flight position.
We may have lived in Dublin for over six months now but, for some reason, we had yet to go and stretch our legs on Mt Diablo. Such a large mountain so close to us, it is hard to miss when you are in this area but we hadn’t got around to going there. It was time for a change and time to get a good hike in since we haven’t been out for a while.
Our hike started out in Clayton on the opposite side of the mountain from us. It wasn’t a terribly long hike since we haven’t exactly been keeping in shape. However, while it was only just under 6 miles, the terrain was a bit more interesting than we had expected. We certainly got some climbing in as well as some descents that had footing that took a little practice to master. The aim was to get to a trail that loops around some falls. We weren’t expecting to see anything at the falls since it has been a very dry winter but they were still flowing although not with any great force. The top of the valley provided a great view of the land below as well as the terrain around the falls and Mt Diablo above us.
It is hard to give a sense of scale in images like this. As I look at them, it reminds me of how cool it looks but also of how an image on the screed is no reflection of the grand vista I saw at the time. It was really lovely even if we were a bit hot and tired by the end of it. It will be interesting to see it at different times of year.
A recent flight home meant an arrival into Midway a while after the sun had set. I had been taking some pictures out of the window as we headed back across the country and decided to try my luck after dark. I had thought about trying out some auto ISO shots as I described in a previous post. However, since I was shooting night scenes, the camera does its best to try and make things look properly exposed and this is not what you need. Instead, I had to manually set the ISO to a higher number and then drop the exposure compensation to between -2 and -3.
The shots came out okay but they weren’t terribly interesting. However, as we got lower, I decided to go for something a bit more interesting and slowed the shutter speed down dramatically. I braced the camera against the window frame and decided to see what sort of light trails I could get. The exposures were a couple of seconds or more so this is rather tricky. While the background is blurred deliberately, I had the top of the engine and the winglet in for reference. Avoiding blurring them was more hit and miss.
I tried a bunch of shots and was pleased with the number that came out well. However, the effect only seems to work in a couple of situations. One is a turn. This puts more ground lights in the frame and turns everything into a nice curve. The other is when you are very low at which point everything is moving past you close and fast. I might try this again before too long but will have to ponder what might improve things. One technique issue I was pleased with was remembering to turn off image stabilization. With long exposures, it causes the image to wander so, when bracing, it actually makes things worse. Unlike me to remember that first time out but sometimes I do get lucky!