A Lovely Tree On Its Own

I was walking back to the car in the park when I saw the light on this one tree making it look really attractive in the evening conditions.  I only had the 500mm with me so there was only one option.  Time to shoot a pano and stitch the whole thing together when I got home.  Handholding a pano with the 500mm is not ideal but it seemed to work out okay.

Veep Comes To Town

The Vice President made a visit to Seattle a while back.  Much of the discussion was about how the traffic downtown could be disrupted but the first thought that I had was that there would be jets visiting.  I was unable to see anything of the visit of Air Force One and the Marine Corps support when the president came to town but I was able to catch the Veep’s jet.  For this visit, Air Force Two was provided by a USAF C-32.  It arrived while I was elsewhere but I was able to catch it depart.

It was parked over near Modern Aviation and, when the motorcade arrived and delivered everybody, they were swiftly on their way.  The taxi route came out towards me and then direct on to the runway to backtrack.  Since a TFR was in effect, no one else was flying so no need to use the taxiway.  Just straight back down the runway, do a 180 and power away.  I think the 757 is a good looking jet and the C-32  certainly looks great.  They were off the ground swiftly and climbing away.

Parliament In The Morning

The day after we arrived in Town, I headed out on my own for a while.  Before I hopped on the tube to go east, the sun was up and illuminating the Houses of Parliament rather nicely so I strolled along the South Bank and across Westminster Bridge to get some shots of the newly refurbished clock tower before heading off.  It was very busy with tourists but it was great to see everything looking so nice on a sunny morning.  (Besides, while I may have considered this area my manor, I am just a tourist too at this point.)

Airlift Northwest In Olympia

Airlift Northwest is a regular feature in the Seattle area providing aeromedical services across the region.  I have seen their helicopters at both Arlington and Boeing Field numerous times.  During the Olympic Air Show at Olympia, I was wandering up towards the hangar where the Huskie was stored when one of the Airlift Northwest EC-135s made its approach.  I couldn’t have been better positioned for it so got a bunch of shots as it came in and landed.  The UW colors look good on these helicopters.

The Kingfishers Stop Being Shy For A Change

There are some kingfishers that live around Juanita Bay but I have never previously been even remotely close to them.  They seemed to live around the outlet of the creek and head straight out into the bay so they were but a speck from where I was.  However, for some reason, a pair of them were out and about.  When I was on one pier, one flew right past me and I was too slow to realize what it was.  However, luck was on my side.

It was heading for another one over the other side of the inlet and they then started spiraling around before heading back towards me and then straight overhead.  I was lucky enough to get a few shots of them as they went by.  I headed around the inlet later on and they were flying again.  This time one landed on the deck where I had previously been.  No doubt, that wouldn’t have happened if anyone had still been there but it was funny to see.

Stratolaunch

There are many ways in which the largest aircraft in the world might be defined.  It cam be dimensional and it can be by weight.  Depending on which you choose to use, the Stratolaunch aircraft can probably qualify for one of them.  A project that was started under the oversight of Paul Allen and, for which the future suddenly looked bleak when he died.  However, it has continued and now seems to have a possible future.

I was hoping that it might make a flight for the Edwards show.  On the Friday, the jet was out taxiing at Mojave.  I missed it being out on the runway but I could see it moving as I drove north.  Consequently, I made a quick detour to see what I could see.  It was being brought back to their ramp when I got there.  The airport security were kind but firm about not hanging around so when they arrived shortly after I did, I left as requested.  Fortunately, I had already had a brief opportunity to take some photos of it.  I understand it flew a few days later carrying the launch vehicle (probably a mass and aero simulator) on a test flight.  We shall see if it progresses to launches before too long.

Georgetown Steam Plant Visit

Near the north end of Boeing Field is the old Georgetown Steam Plant.  This is an old power station that was decommissioned decades ago.  I had been curious to see what it was like inside.  I had thought about going a while back and then the pandemic put paid to any visits for a couple of years.  The opening hours have now been established and they open on the second Saturday of each month.  That proved problematic for a while as that clashed with travels or other plans.  Consequently, I put the first opening in my calendar and tried my best to make sure I could go.

The Saturday came around and it was a gloriously sunny day.  This shouldn’t matter much since I was going to be indoors but it does make for a nicer day to be out anyway.  It was due to open at 10am so I decided to get there right at the beginning.  Turned out this was a good idea.  The parking lot was already looking pretty full and more were arriving.  I have no idea why it was so busy.  Sure, a nice day encourages people to go out but how many people see a sunny day and think “let’s go to a decommissioned power plant”?  I asked a docent whether this was normal.  He said they normally get about 30 people over the day and they had four tours of 50 people booked plus those, like me, that didn’t take the tour!

The power plant was built at the beginning of the 20th century.  It had three steam turbines of different vintages, powers and technologies.  The first two are vertical and the third horizontal.  These are fed from a large boiler room.  There are balconies with the control electronics which you can see but are not yet accessible.  I was happy to let the tours concentrate people in various locations which meant it was quieter wherever they weren’t so I could wander around casually.

I had figured wide angle was going to be my friend in the building so had a wide zoom and a fisheye zoom with me.  I used the fish a little initially but soon concluded it wasn’t that useful to me so I swapped it out with the 70-200 to allow me to get some detail shots of the machinery.  Older machinery has a lot of character with polished metals, complex mechanisms and multiple gauges.  It is a great look in to a bygone era.

These shots are few of the overall layout of the building.  There are some details from within the plant that will have their own posts to come so I can focus on them.  I don’t want to try and squeeze it all in to one post and lose some of the curious elements in the larger story.

Vision Head On

I was hanging out at Arlington with my buddy Bob.  A variety of aircraft were flying that day but the conditions were not ideal.  We were there for something else but that is the topic for another post.  We had gone to the north end of the field where a path crosses under the centerline.  Some Eagle Flights were taking place that day and one of the planes providing them was a Cirrus SF50 Vision.  It took off while we were up there so we got some head on shots of it.  A grey jet on a cloudy day is not ideal so, rather than getting the regular side on shots, a head on view was actually a better outcome.

A Brewery Close To My Heart

When we lived in the UK, there were plenty of good local breweries producing bitter that I could sample.  Some of the larger brands would have national reach and one of those was Wadworth and their 6X bitter.  I am very partial to this beer.  I have had occasion when I have had a bad 6X but that is down to pubs that don’t keep their beer well.  Wadworth is based in Devizes and this was where we went to see the Caen Hill Locks.  It would have been churlish not to pay a brief visit to the brewery.  It is alongside the main road through the town so getting a clean shot of it took some patience but I was successful.  I think went to the gift shop because how could I not?

Rotor One Goes To Test The Viz

The Bolt Creek fire brought a load of helicopters in to fight the fire and they were based at Harvey Field in Snohomish.  A while after I got there that weekend, one of the UH-1s fired up.  This was Rotor One, a county operated helicopter.  It took off and turned over me before heading east.  It turns out it was looking to see how the conditions were.  Visibility looked awful and, judging by whatever Rotor One reported, that was the case everywhere.  None of the other helicopters ever got moving.  The conditions were just too bad.