Now This Is A Tug!

Sunny Saturday afternoon and we were coming back from Discovery Park.  Our route took us passed Commodore Park which gives immediate access to the Chittenden Locks at Ballard.  With it being such a nice afternoon, we decided it was worth a brief stroll across to see what was going on.  There were a number of smaller boats coming through the little lock which we watched for a while.  Then, coming up from Puget Sound, we saw a large commercial vessel approaching.

It was a tug returning from time out on the open ocean.  There are plenty of tugs in the area – many of which are not too big – but this one was a decent size.  No doubt there are larger ones for open ocean recovery of vessels but this was still impressive.  The crew was busy preparing for port.  Hosing the salt off the superstructure, greasing up exposed metalwork and gathering all of the trash.  They had to wait for a short while because the lock crews were still working the smaller lock.  Then they were summoned in.  A little burst of power from a tug this size can really get the water churning.  Since they needed the larger lock, the other waiting boats were brought in too.

Once the water level was raised, the lock gates were opened and the water flowed through to finally balance things out.  The current whipping past the tug made it look like it was moving at some speed even though it was standing still.  Once cleared to depart, they pulled off gently.  Since a lot of small craft were behind them in the lock, they couldn’t just give it the beans or their wash would have bounced everyone around.  Instead, a delicate application of power and they were on their way.  Below is a little video of them to go with the stills.

Avanti Taunting Me At Sunset

Given my recent Avanti posts, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I had some bad luck again.  After the arrival of the 777X, the local Avanti was showing due to arrive just before sunset.  The weather had been very overcast but, as is often the case up here, the sun was sneaking occasional appearances below the clouds as sunset approached.  The Avanti was due soon and it looked like it could either be great or crap.  About five minutes before it was due in, the sun popped out.  Things looked great for a Cessna that was on approach.

It couldn’t last, though.  The clouds took over again and then things got worse.  The Avanti, instead of turning on to approach, went off on some weird looping flightpath to the north.  I have no idea what it was up to but the time it spent meant the sun was now definitely gone.  Now I was playing “How High Can the ISO Go” as the conditions deteriorated.  At least modern camera are pretty amazing with little light to work with.

I got some shots of it as it came in and they really came out quite well.  At the north end of Paine Field, things are a bit further away so, with a smaller plane, I can make use of the 500mm and f/4 certainly helps in the low light.  Just behind the Avanti was a G550 so I figured why not wait for it to come in too.  The light was even worse but it was still worth a go.  Low light is not great but it can provide some nice shots if you are lucky and this was okay.

Sea Eagles

Woodland Park Zoo has a pair of Stellar Sea Eagles in an enclosure.  The Sea Eagle is a big bird.  This pair were pretty active as well.  They were making a lot of noise and flapping around the enclosure not stopping at any one spot for long.  It made for a fun time trying to get some shots of them.  Shooting through the enclosure is a bit tricky but, being close enough to it allowed everything to blur out and the shots worked out pretty well.  They are an intense looking creature.

The Curves Are So Cool

At quiet times, I browse through older shots to see what I have shot in the past that might not have been the most interesting subject of the shoot but was worth another look.  I had been photographing with a bunch of guys at O’Hare a few years back as the evening was drawing in.  We were out at the west side of O’Hare and the evening light was great.  An Embraer E175-E1 took off and turned overhead us.  The low light angles picked up the underside of the aircraft as it turned.  The bottom of a wing has a lot of complex curvatures to it and the low light angle really emphasizes that shape.  This shot really appealed to me for that reason.

The S4 Was A Beast

A while back I posted some shots of a Lancia Delta Integrale.  The Integrale was the road homologous on version of the rally car that came about when the Group B rally cars were closed out.  However, the Group B cars were the really crazy ones.  The S4 was the Lancia that competed in Group B.  It replaced the Lancia 037 and, at Chateau Ste. Michelle, the two were on show together.  Both were road versions for homologous on but they were both beasts.

The S4 was the pinnacle of crazy rally cars.  A huge engine and four wheel drive in what was really not a road car.  They built some to meet the rules and this was one of them.  It was surprisingly nicely finished on the interior given what type of car it was.  However, the way in which the body looked like it was different pieces bolted together made you know this was not a car designed for consumers.  I was designed with a single purpose in mind.  However, it looked like it could eat anything else on the road.  What as absolute monster.

FedEx Has A New Base

The end of 787 production at Everett has also meant that Boeing doesn’t have a need for the Dreamlifter operations center that they had built there, next to the Future of Flight visitor location.  I assume the space was leased from the airport but that might not be right.  Whatever the case, a new use has been found for it.  FedEx has set up a small operation there.  SeaTac is their main base in the area and they have a steady stream of wide body freighters heading through there.  Everett is a single 757 each day.  I assume this is the beginning of things and that there will be more to come.  I can’t imagine that they will make that investment for one freighter a day.  We get a bunch of FedEx 767s on test prior to delivery but the 757 is a nice addition.

Climate Pledge Arena Opening

The arrival of an NHL franchise in Seattle has prompted the rebuild of the Key Arena.  Part of Seattle Center, Key Arena is a pyramid structure.  It did not have the capacity for supporting an NHL franchise so a major rebuild was undertaken.  The roof structure was kept but everything else was rebuilt.  They gutted the place and dug down into the ground to effectively double the capacity of the facility.

It opened in mid October.  There was a pre-opening event with the Foo Fighter playing but the official opening was a Coldplay concert on the Friday followed by the Seattle Kraken home opener on the Saturday.  On the Sunday, they had an open house for people to come and check out the arena.  There was no likelihood of me missing something like that.  However, the weather was not looking great.  They had a market and some bands outside but the rain also decided it wanted to be there.  This was not a problem inside the arena but it did make the outside a bit less appealing.  Still, it was fun to check out the new event space.

The ice hockey arena was open to view rather than covered up for other events.  There were a couple of players working on the ice for a while but it was mostly empty.  The Zamboni machines did come out to polish the ice though.  There are plenty of interesting food and drink spaces around the venue.  Pricing will be what you expect of a sports arena but they did look a lot nicer than you might see at older venues.  The structure of the building has been preserved to some extent and you can see interesting shapes in the roof line.  Outside it is easier to appreciate the old roof structure.  Inside they have all sort of space for lighting and show installations and there is acoustic treatment for the roof to make it work as a concert venue.

It is now renamed the Climate Pledge Arena.  The group that is supporting it is significantly backed by Amazon.  They have designed the location to make use of renewable resources as much as possible and it is supposed to be incredibly environmentally sound.  No doubt that will annoy some people – if you are annoyed by somewhere not polluting somewhere, have a think about your priorities.  The venue already provided good income to the city and the new operators have to provide that income to the city whatever they achieve.  This is a nice change from the usual approach of cities subsidizing major sports franchises.  We shall see how they get on.

Norwegian P-8 In The Air

Boeing is churning out P-8s at quite a rate these days.  Most go to the US Navy but a fair few are for export and the most recent export customer to have their jets delivered is Norway.  The Royal Norwegian Air Force has started taking their jets – the first of which I saw on the ramp at Renton.  I did recently catch one coming back from a test flight which was a bit more interesting.  The Saint symbol on the fin seems to be common to the jets I have seen so far.

Historic Hull In A Bad Way

As I was driving around the waterfront in Everett, I came to an open sided shed with a decaying ship hull under the cover.  It was a ship called Equator.  It was a hull that had been rescued after being used as part of the breakwater at Everett.  Even after being saved, it sat outside for a long time gradually weakening.  Eventually, funding was found to put a structure over the hull.  However, it was already in a pretty bad way and the stern collapsed.  It’s not clear what is going to happen to it at this point.

The structure is open on the sides which would be good for getting photos but the fencing is a bit of a problem.  A bit of reaching up and using Live View to try and get some shots was required.  Getting far enough back to get the hull in frame was problematic.  At the stern end, there is a small wall for storage of some sand and it was possible to stand on top of the wall to get a few more angles.  Not an easy one to shoot though.

A First Encounter With Ukraine’s Workhorse

There are some aircraft that have been built and flown in huge numbers which it is almost embarrassing to admit that you have never photographed.  One such aircraft is the Antonov AN-12.  This was a ubiquitous military transport for the eastern bloc and, while it is now a rather aged design, it still has a good role as a civil freighter.  However, I have never seen one in action until recently.

A Ukrainian registered example from CAVOK Airlines was coming in to Seattle.  It was due to arrive at around 1pm which meant the light would be right on the nose.  The worst possible case.  Of course, that was assuming that there would be light.  When it actually arrived, the sun was well obscured by clouds.  Given the dark colors of the plane, maybe that was a good thing.  Two minutes after it had gone, the sun was back out of course.  It was trailing smoke from its old generation engines but it was definitely a highlight of the last few months of movements.