The movement of the ex-LATAM Airbus A350s that Delta has picked up on their way to Singapore via Seattle got me out once before. The jet was arriving after dark but I gave it a go anyway. The next one to make the move from California to Singapore came through at a more convenient time for me being both daylight and also when I wasn’t at work! The weather was not perfect but the sun did pop out which made for some reasonable lighting and it was a chance to catch a jet in LATAM colors which I probably won’t get very often.
Can I Sneak In Another Hovercraft Encounter
Our trips to the UK that involve some time on the Isle of Wight also are likely to include me trying to get a little time with the hovercraft. On our most recent trip, we didn’t go to the Island. However, we did pick up and drop off my mum when she came across and what form of transport did she use? Yep. I had a reason to be hanging around at the hovercraft terminal.
I did get some photos of the hovercraft but, this time, I decided to focus on some video of them coming and going. Not only were they running the regular service but there was also some training underway so we got an arrival that didn’t come up on the slipway but instead headed back out to see. Here is the video I edited.
Breeze Comes to Town (But Not With the A220 Yet)
Breeze is an airline that was recently formed by the guy that started up JetBlue. It has an initial east coast focus but is supposed to gradually expand west. We do not have scheduled service yet but they seem to also undertake charter operations. When the airline was announced, it was supposed to use Airbus A220s. I guess the pandemic made aircraft availability better and they picked up a bunch of Embraer E190s. The A220s have started to come online but the Embraers are currently the big part of the fleet.
One of them was making a trip to Boeing Field. Not sure why it was coming but I figured this was worth a look. I tracked the jet as it lined up for the approach but I hadn’t heard it call in. At some point, I heard the tower call to ask if they were on frequency and no response. At this point, it was pretty close in. I guess, without a clearance, they decided to go around. They climbed out over the field. A side effect of this was to cause a Delta 737 that was on approach to SEA to have to also go missed as the Embraer was conflicting with its flight path. I suspect they were a touch annoyed.
The Embraer then was vectored around for a second approach. On this one, everything seemed to be a lot more normal. I heard them call up a decent distance out and they were cleared to land which they did without incident. The sky blue livery is quite catching and I would like to see one of the A220s at some point soon. I wonder whether we will get service out here at some point?
I have seen deer in the grounds at Fort Casey before. When I was there recently, they were feeding on the grass near the gun emplacements. At first, I was disappointed because they were in the shadow of the emplacements as the sun got lower. This made for shots that were just not as interesting. Then, they gradually made their way out into the sun and the shots got a lot better.
What amazed me was how they really didn’t seem to give a crap about the humans wandering around near them. I was trying to get into a position where I could get a good shot but was moving very cautiously to achieve this. Then a bunch of people would walk by on the trail and the deer might look up briefly but would then return to munching. I imagine that they see people so often and are never threatened by them so are not worried at all. I could probably have walked a lot closer to them without them flinching!
Lightroom Noise Reduction Update Testing
One of the software tools that I find a lot of people talking about these days is DeNoise from Topaz. I have never been terribly bothered by noise in my images. Modern cameras do a pretty remarkable job of handling noise and, for most usage purposes, the noise is not really an issue if it is there. I have posted my efforts with PureRAW in its various forms where I have tried it out to see how the noise reduction comes out and, while I have seen strengths and weaknesses in it, I have never seen it as something I needed to spend on.
Lightroom Classic had one of its periodic updates recently. The big new feature was their own denoise functionality. Much like my experimentation with PureRAW, it analyzes the shot and creates a new DNG file with the noise suppressed. I was curious to see how it would perform and, seeing as it is included in the price of my subscription, I have it anyway. I decided to take some shots I had recently used for the PureRAW3 trial I had done and compare with the Lightroom version.
It defaulted to a 50 level of noise reduction. I don’t know whether this is a percentage and what of but it is a scale so I played with it. I did some at 50 and some at 75 to see whether more aggressive noise reduction had detrimental effects on other parts of the image. Comparing these things and then sharing the results is a touch tricky so I have created a single image from four layers. They are the original Lightroom develop settings, the PureRAW3 version, the 75 denoise settings and the 50 denoise settings. I mask them to make the image into four sections. Then, to make it useful on here, I have zoomed in to show the borders between them to provide some sort of comparison.
The PureRAW3 result is very aggressive on noise reduction. However, I find it can make some odd artifacts in the images where details were not that clear to begin with. The 75 setting in Lightroom provided a very similar level of noise reduction to PureRAW3. It is slightly noisier but barely enough to matter. A setting of 50 does show more noise. It is still a significant improvement over the basic Camera Raw settings and very usable.
What do I conclude from all of this? First, as I have said before when testing the PureRAW trials, it provides some interesting results but it is not relevant to enough of my work to matter to me sufficient for me to spend a bunch of money on buying it. Having denoise in Lightroom now provides me with a very similar option but within the existing price I am paying for Lightroom. Therefore, I will make use of it when the situation dictates. It would be a regular part of my workflow because really high ISO shots are only an occasional thing for me but having it there when I want it will be handy.
Cattle Point and the Forecast Wasn’t Even Good!
We took a day trip to San Juan Island. I was interested in trying to get some pictures of the foxes that live in that area. The forecast for the day was not that great but, with nothing else planned, a trip to the Islands seemed like it would be fun even if it proved to be damp. However, it didn’t prove to be damp. Instead, the weather was gorgeous. It really couldn’t have been nicer for a Sunday out.
I was wandering along the edge of the bluffs on the lookout for foxes. The results of my wildlife photography efforts will be in other posts. For these, I shall just show the views I got of the coastline. Some of these are long range shots taken with the 500mm I was carrying for the wildlife. Others are wider shots taken with the phone. Cattle Point is a really lovely part of the island and I would struggle to be bored with being in this place.
The Negus 747-400
We were in the Cotswolds for a wedding earlier this year and the morning of the wedding found my with little to do while everyone was getting ready. I was only 30 minutes or so from the old RAF airfield of Kemble, now Cotswolds Airport. Surely it would be churlish to not take a look since I was killing time? Kemble has quite a lot of interest and will mean there are several posts to come. The first will focus on one of the largest residents.
British Airways painted three of its 747s in retro liveries. The jets had different interior configurations which meant they were used on specific routes. I got to shoot the BOAC jet and the Landor jet when they came to Seattle but I never saw the Negus jet. When BA retired the 747 fleet during the pandemic, the Negus jet apparently made its way to Kemble to become a venue rather than get reduced to parts and scrap metal. However, I didn’t know this.
Consequently, I was rather surprised to find the jet sitting there as I drove up to the airport main buildings. There are other 747s stored on the field at Kemble but this one is very accessible. It was early in the day when I arrived so I could wander around unfettered but there were already crews showing up to bring in fixtures for an event that they were going to be hosting. Renting out a 747 for an event sound like just the sort of thing I would do! I was very pleasantly surprised to see the third of the retro jets and to see it in such good condition. (Sure, they have a few nacelle panels that have been switched around but it still seems in good shape.)
Take Your Car With You
I have seen countless RVs on the highway with a small vehicle hooked on the back. Having something more usable when you get to your destination makes a lot of sense. What about if you have a boat? How are you going to get around when you reach your next port? Why, bring a car with you of course! This ship was in the harbour at Bristol while we were visiting. The car was sitting on the deck, ready for use whenever it was needed!
Four Seasons Traveling in Style
A few years ago, I was doing a photo flight over LAX and, on the south side of the airfield at one of the FBOs, a black 757 was parked with marking of the Four Seasons hotel group. This jet was used for some pretty high end tour operations. Not the sort of thing I am likely to be on! The 757 was aging and, in discussion with some friends online, I heard that they had switched to an Airbus A321neo. Lo and behold, a few days later, it came to Seattle.
I wasn’t able to get it arriving (although it came back again another time and I did then) but the departure was on a day that I was free. The jet is in a similar livery to the 757 looking black from a distance. I am not sure whether it is actually black or a deep purple color but, when the sun glints off it, there is a colorful tinge to it. Departures were to the north so it crossed the runway to taxi by me and then turned for the take off roll. They were heading to Hawaii so I imagine the guests were looking forward to some fun in the islands. The aircraft is actually operated by Titan out of the UK. I wonder whether the crews like this gig or whether it is a bit of a drag?
Wood Pigeons Own the Place
During our UK visit, we stayed in the village of Longparish. The gardens outside our place had a stream of wildlife coming through. By far the most common visitors were the wood pigeons. They were always wandering around the garden looking for snacks in the ground. They are so plump compared to normal pigeons, and you could see why eating pigeon might have been a big part of people’s diet. They seemed so confident in themselves. We felt like we were intruding on their space as we came in or out. It was really their place, not ours.