Tag Archives: washington

Vistara Flying at Last

With so many stored 787s at Everett in recent years, I have seen a bunch of Vistara jets on the ground.  However, I hadn’t really done very well in catching them moving.  Not very well is generous – I hadn’t got anything worthwhile.  Then I was up at Paine Field earlier in the day for something else and a Vistara jet taxied out for a test flight.  Thankfully it ran reasonably long on its takeoff roll and I was able to get some good shots of it.

Otter Foraging

I have been meaning to post some more otter shots for ages, but various things came first, and I have postponed this one a number of times – when I say postponed, I mean postpone even writing something as opposed to postponing the actual posting.  This otter was busily moving around Juanita Bay as it searched for its next meal.  I initially saw it coming across the water towards me.  It swam around the inlet before heading to land so I could see it closer up in the water.

It then went back around the headland, and I thought it might be continuing off into the main bay, but it turned around and came out of the water onto the land near us.  A quick shake to dry off and then a bit more of searching the ground for any hint of a snack.  It didn’t last long.  Soon it was back in the water and out towards the open water hunting for something tasty.  I hope it found something good.

Checking Out Seattle from the Air When Coming Home

A previous post included some aerial photos that I got when coming back into Seattle courtesy of an Alaska Airlines 737.  They were of some of the islands in Puget Sound.  As we got back to the city, we turned back towards the approach with a nice view of the locks at Ballard and the waterways into Lake Union.  A close-up view of the north end of Lake Union with Gasworks Park in the foreground and the university campus in the background came next and then a view of the south side of the city and off towards the east side of Lake Washington before we were back on the ground.

Some P-8s But Not Many Markings

A trip to Whidbey Island at the end of last year resulted in some encounters with the local P-8 Poseidons.  The disappointment was that they weren’t exactly showing off loads of unit markings.  With one exception, they were rather anonymous.  I’m not sure whether they had been recently received and were later to get squadron emblems or not.  I hope so.  Fortunately, the light was nice at that time of year so I got some images I was pleased with.

Time for Our Regular Spring Visit to Meerkerk

Spring means rhododendrons and our favorite place to go looking for them is Meerkerk.  A sunny weekend forecast meant we made the trip over to Whidbey to see how things looked.  Visiting has always been a bit of a crapshoot for us.  Will we get there before they come into full bloom?  Will they already be passed their prime?  This time I think we hit it pretty spot on.

The bushes were full of color with blooms all over the place.  A few may have peaked, and some were, no doubt, still to come, but so much was looking great, I think we couldn’t have done better.  Aside for a family that had brought along a photographer to take images of their small son who seemed very uninterested in doing anything they wanted resulting in the photographer’s voice being audible across the gardens, things were very tranquil.  (They didn’t stay long, and it was so nice when I heard them say they were leaving – of course I heard them say that, you heard everything they said!). Will we be so lucky next time?  Who knows?

A Short Time Between Two Visions

It doesn’t take long for the weather to change in the Pacific Northwest.  One afternoon I got a couple of Cirrus Vision Jets into Boeing Field.  The weather was a bit overcast for one of them and then cleared up nicely by the time the second one showed up.  The result was a far nicer shot for the second jet than for the first.  It is amazing how quickly conditions can change and what a difference it can make to the images.

Finally, the Jetz Black Jet – Just No Sun

Air Canada operates a charter service under the Jetz brand.  While the A320s are not the focus of the mainline fleet, they are part of the Jetz fleet plan.  With a lot of use in sports charters, they do show up at Seattle pretty frequently.  One of the Jetz jets has been painted in a gloss black livery which looks pretty cool.  I really wanted to get some shots of it but they only seemed to be bringing it in late at night and departing in the early hours of the morning.

I wasn’t going to be out that late and photographing a black jet at night was not going to be that worthwhile.  Then I saw one was going to come in on a Sunday morning.  I took a look at the forecast, and it was showing the potential for the sun to be out and I decided to give it a go.  Finding a location on that side of the field for the morning light has got a lot worse since construction has taken away some of the options.  However, there are still some things that can work.  I was hopeful that the sun might be there but, with the jet turning on to approach, there was still some cloud taking away the best of the morning light.  Nevertheless, the jet looked pretty good as it flew by to touchdown.  I wasn’t unhappy with the results.

Mukilteo’s Hills Look Steep

As the ferry was crossing towards Mukilteo, I was looking towards the lighthouse to see if it was worth a shot.  What I hadn’t realized was that some of the roads in Mukilteo seem pretty steep which shouldn’t be such a surprise given how hilly it is around there.  When aligned with the roads and shooting with the long lens, the compression made them look particularly steep, but I suspect they are not as bad as they look here.

328Jet Departure Only

A period of some pretty frequent visits to Seattle of 328Jets was nice to have.  Unfortunately, I was unable to be there when one of them was arriving.  Not chance to get the landing configuration but I was there by the time they were heading back out.  I wasn’t sure of how quickly they would be off the ground given that the 328 is able to handle some short fields.  As it turned out, they ran a reasonable distance and I was happy with the results.

I Guess More Harriers Were in My Future

During the trip with Mark, we made the excursion to El Centro to catch the Harriers.  As I wrote in the post about those airframes, I thought it might be the last time I got to photograph Harriers.  Turns out, I was a bit premature.  With an exercise planned up in Alaska, the Marines were planning on taking ten jets to participate.  Their routing staged through Boeing Field.  The plan was for two sets of five jets to come across.

The moves were not entirely smooth.  Bad weather in our area was not ideal, tanker support was not working to plan and then you get the occasional jet that breaks.  However, we did get most of the jets showing up.  The first bunch showed up at Boeing Field from the north.  They were strung out on the approach but, from certain angles, you could see all of them stretched out over Seattle.  One by one they came in and reminded us how loud a Harrier is in STOVL mode.

There was due to be the second wave later in the day, but they ended up showing up on another day.  We had departures of the initial jets as well.  When they called up for departure, they asked the tower to line up on both runways.  This would have put them up at the north and away from where I was.  This was a bad development.  Fortunately, the tower informed them that they were too heavy for the short runway’s surface rating.

Instead, they lined up on the main runway spread out in a line.  They powered up simultaneously and released brakes at the same time.  The northern jet had no problem getting airborne in such a short space because of the STOVL capabilities of the Harrier.  The jets further back were also airborne quickly and accelerating rapidly while still over the field.  They climbed out in a loose line which meant assembling the formation would be a simple process.  What a great thing to see one more time.  Is that it for me and Harriers????