Haystack Rock

Cannon Beach is well known but one of its most famous landmarks is Haystack Rock.  This sits on the shore just a short distance from where we were staying so we walked by it a few times and could see it from our balcony whenever we liked.  It is a sizeable thing!  It sits right at the tide line so, at high tide, it is in the water but, when the tide retreats, you can walk out to it.  However, it is a protected site so no climbing.

On gray and stormy days, it looks pretty bleak.  When the sun is out and illuminating it with that nice low winter light angle, it looks totally different.  I suspect, if I stayed there longer, I would probably photograph it a hundred different ways and still not be satisfied with what I got.  I won’t be alone, of course.  It has been photographed more times than anyone could count.

Down in the Slough at Kenmore

It has taken a while for this post from the 75th anniversary celebrations at Kenmore Air.  They operated one of the planes from the slough that runs alongside the base.  They had back taxied one of the Otters to start its takeoff run from earlier to mean it was taking off close to the spectators.  Then, when landing, they brought it down in the slough again.  It made for a great view of the plane compared to the normal departures and arrivals way out in Lake Washington.

Stone Gate House

There is a gate house to the estate that has now become the arboretum in Seattle.  I assume it once kept unwanted visitors at bay.  Now, it sits beside the road doing very little.  I don’t know if it is used at various times throughout the year but, when we were there, it was locked up securely which didn’t give the impression that it was regularly occupied.  The stone structure fits in nicely with the surrounding trees.

Silk Air But Not For Long

Singapore Airlines has been rationalizing their operations and one of the changes that they are making is getting rid of their subsidiary Silk Air and integrating its operations in to the mainline airline.  Silk Air has ordered a bunch of 737s from Boeing and these are in the process of being delivered.  A number of the planes were already painted in the Silk Air colors and apparently the airline determined it was cheaper for them to repaint them than to have Boeing do it.  Consequently, they are being test flown in the old colors.

I assume that later jets will be painted in Singapore colors as they come off the line (depending on how much Boeing charges for that change order) but I have yet to see one in the new colors.  I hope to get one before too long since I don’t have any plans to be in Singapore for a while.  We shall see.  I have got some distant shots of one passing near the house as it returned to BFI as well as some shots from BFI itself.

Snoqualmie Falls Is A Bit More Active Now

The recent months in the Pacific Northwest have been very wet.  It has felt like it was always raining and not just gentle rain but heavy rain on a regular basis.  This means that there is plenty of water in the mountains and the rivers coming out of the Cascades are heavy with flow.  I figured a trip up to Snoqualmie Falls was in order.  A few months back I had been up there when the flow over the falls was very low.

With the two power stations built in to the falls, the demands that they put on the water often mean that there is a lot less to go over the falls themselves.  Once the water levels get high, though, there is more than enough for everyone!  The falls were really raging.  The spray blowing up from the river was quite intense and, depending on which way the wind was blowing, you could either be quite dry or getting a deluge.

Since I made the visit, the weather hasn’t got any better.  I imagine that the falls have continued to be in full flow ever since.  Downstream, the river valleys have been in flood with the river levels all high.  Hopefully no one is suffering too much – those areas are prone to flooding anyway and they tend to be ready for it.

Helijet Sunday Ops

The weather in Victoria over the Thanksgiving weekend was not great for aviation photography with a fair bit of rain and definitely only one day when the sun showed up.  That day was not going to be one on which I would suggest to Nancy I go photographing helicopters.  That might not have been the smartest suggestion.  However, when the morning was rainy and cloudy and we were planning on a relaxing day, things could be different.

I hopped in the car and drove around to the heliport which is used by Helijet for their shuttle service to Vancouver.  The Sunday schedule is not the busiest so I had to plan accordingly so I got there in time for an arrival and they were scheduled to head back out again not long afterwards.  I could fit all of this in before heading back for a spot of lunch.

The S-76 is a pretty elegant looking helicopter.  The design has been around for a long time and has gone through a number of iterations but the basic airframe shape is good in my opinion.  It is a lot larger than you might imagine with plenty of seating capacity which makes it good for this shuttle service.  One of the airframes was parked at the heliport when I got there so I got some shots of that.  Then it was a question of waiting for the inbound flight to arrive.

The problem with the heliport is the fencing.  It has quite a tight mesh and it is possible to shoot through it but it requires some care in aligning the end of the lens with the holes.  Sometimes I do better with this than other times.  When the helicopter is coming in, I have to try hard to get it right.  Stepping back away from the fence does provide a little elevation but not much so shooting through the fence is going to be required.

The sky was grey and dreary so approach shots were not going to be too good but I was going to try them anyway.  Once it was close to touchdown, it was a sprint to the fence.  They taxi off the pad to the space in front of the terminal (generous description, I know) and then shut down.  It was too long before they were firing up again.  Given that the wind was not too strong, they were able to lift and head straight out.  As they got on to the pad, it was noticeable just how far aft the rotor was pitched.  Once airborne, this resulting in a nose high altitude and then they were off.

Victoria Watersports

Victoria residents like to make use of the water for their activities.  While we were there – and despite the weather being far from friendly – there were plenty of people out on the water.  Their choice of activities varied.  We had some stand up paddle boarders, there were kayakers, canoes and what looked like dragon boat teams but maybe that isn’t the right term for this type of boat.  Wherever I was wandering, there was always someone out on the water.  They managed to avoid the ferries and floatplanes without too much trouble!

The Fourth 787 Struggling to Fly

Of the original 787 development airframes, three are now in museums and Boeing has one that it continues to use for test work.  It was the fourth of the jets and, I assume, the closest to a production standard.  It was recently out at Boeing Field for a flight.  It taxied by me to the end of the taxiway where it then waited for a very long time.  Some fire trucks were close by but not attending it – just watching as far as I could tell.  They called up to say that they would be there for a long time so the tower was diverting things around them.

Eventually they taxied back before finally getting whatever was the issue sorted out at which point the runway in use had changed.  They had to head to the other end of the field for departure.  This time they did take off and headed off for whatever testing they had planned.  Not sure of whatever it was that caused them so much trouble but I guess it got resolved.

Otter Underwater

Photographing animals underwater through glass walls on their enclosures is a bit hit or miss.  The otters in one of the enclosures at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo were playing near the glass a lot so I figured I would give it a go.  You aren’t going to get razor sharp shots since that glass is very thick but sometimes it can work out okay.  This otter was more than happy to perform for the camera.

Wind And Rain Have A Benefit Sometimes

I may have complained a little about the weather being damp and windy during our trip to Victoria but there was one upside to this.  Unfortunately, it took one missed opportunity before I realized.  The wind was strong and from the west.  The normal approach for Harbour Air is to come in through the opening to the harbor and then touch down in the outer area before taxiing into the Inner Harbour.  With the wind coming from the opposite direction, they reversed the flow.

I had seen this once before on a previous visit to Victoria many years ago and had forgotten it could happen.  Our hotel was located right on the corner of the shoreline around which the planes would approach and we had a view out of our (not huge) window as they came around to touch down.  The first time I realized I could get the shot, I had to make so with shooting through the window.  This does not do much for image quality but it was still okay and I got an Otter coming in.

The next time something was due, I planned ahead.  The window of our room did open but it only opened a very small amount.  Not enough to get a camera out of except when looking off to one side.  However, the restriction on opening was the result of a small screw that was in the track for the window and it was not very securely fastened.  With my fingertip, I was able to remove the screw and with that out of the way, the window could fully open.  A Twin Otter was on the way so this time I was ready to get a clearer shot.  There is plenty of warning of their arrival because the sound of the props reaches you long before the plane does.  Besides, they are on final approach so hardly going too fast.  The only downside to this shot is that the touchdown location is further around and out of sight of where we were.  Bad weather can have its benefits.