Tag Archives: 737

Shooting From On The Field At SEA

Some of the best shots are taken when you have access to the airfield.  Sadly, that is not a simple thing to arrange.  However, if the flight you arrive on has to hold prior to crossing the runway, you have a better chance of getting some shots of aircraft departing off the runway you are waiting to cross.  This does involve shooting through the windows of the aircraft which are not great at the best of times and on the recent Alaska flights I have taken, have been pretty crappy.  Still, it was fun to try and get some shots, even with the limitations of my older M6.

More Fuselages Arrive

I’ve posted photos of 737 fuselages on the delivery trains before so this is a repeat.  This time it was a collection of five fuselages on one train, possibly the most I have seen at once.  I saw the train across the field but thought I might have time.  I was getting something else and, since the train has to switch off the mainline south of the airport, it often has to wait for the route to be set.  I did get around just before the train moved which was handy.

With that many fuselages, I wanted to get a longer shot with a long lens.  That is something that can only be done well in the winter when heat haze is significantly reduced.  The overcast conditions mean that the green of the protective film on the fuselages looks a bit more vibrant than it does in bright conditions.

737 Rear Fuselage Design Evolution

The 737 has gone through many design iterations.  With the introduction of the Max, the rear fuselage got quite a redesign.  The original 737 tailplane was redesigned for the NG family when it was widened.  This affected the rear fuselage a small amount.  However, there were clearly still issues with that part of the plane given the large number of vortex generators that were fitted.  These are always there to fix things that aren’t quite as they should be.

The Max has a totally reconfigured rear fuselage.  Boeing clearly decided to clean up the issues that they had been living with.  Any opportunity to reduce drag is needed when you are competing with the newest version of your opponent.  They have thinned the fuselage a lot and this is one of the easiest ways to spot that a jet is a Max rather than a previous version (the others being the engine size and the winglet type).  The APU inlet has also been relocated.

It’s Trains, Not Planes, Honest!

I might be sneaking some planes in to a post that would normally be a non-aviation day but I am going to claim that this is a post about trains rather than planes.  If you don’t agree, I shall refund your subscription fee!  The BNSF main line runs alongside Boeing Field and I saw a train run past the north end of the field heading south with three 737 fuselages on their railcars.  I figured I wouldn’t be able to get around in time to see them up close but then the train seemed to slow.

I figured it was worth a shot and drove around.  The train has stopped but it was also behind another stopped train so I couldn’t see it easily.  Instead, I head further along the track to a location where you could look up towards the train and where you would have an angle on it as it moved again – assuming it did of course.  There was quite a wait for some passing commuter trains before it finally got going.  The three fuselages will probably have been switched out at the yard just south of where I was and then moved to the Boeing factory at Renton.

More on the Stored Southwest Jets

When the pandemic first hit in a big way, I wasn’t going anywhere to shoot but, once it was okay to make trips without interfacing with other people too much, I did got to Paine Field to see the stored Southwest 737s and I wrote about it in this post.  I was back up there recently and, while they have been cycling jets in and out, there are still a lot of their 737s parked there – predominantly but not only, 737-700s.

Some of them are up near the old cross runway and lined up in a good spot for a shot when the morning light is on them.  I was a little later than ideal but I still managed to get something.  Many of them are around near the FHCAM facility – still sadly closed and with no idea what the future might hold.  I had brought some steps which meant I could shoot over the fence.  The planes are really tight in there so I may a lot of use of panos to get decent coverage of the planes.  I did also get some of the planes further away.

The coverings on the openings on the airframes were pretty comprehensive.  Everything that is exposed has been taped over to prevent moisture or creatures getting in and causing harm.  There have been various stories coming out of the issues affecting planes that have been in storage for a long time so, while this prep is good, there will still be much to do when these planes are returned to service.  Meanwhile, Southwest is now taking delivery of its Max jets so it will be interesting to see how many of these planes do have a future.

Renton Flight Line

The flight line near the runway at Renton is always worth a look.  The majority of the planes (when production is normal) will be airliners but one spot at the south end is likely to have a P-8 Poseidon in place.  Such was the case this morning with a US Navy example heading the line.

Down By the Lake at Love Field

Bachman Lake sits at one end of Dallas Love Field.  Early one morning, I decided to see whether the trail alongside the lake made for a good spot to get some shots.  The traffic at Love Field is heavily skewed towards Southwest 737s so I wasn’t expecting a lot of variety but instead wanted to see what angles I could get.  It also would be nice to have a stroll along the lake in the morning light.

There are two runways at Love Field so you have a bit of a guess as to which one will be used at any one time but that is fine.  The view across the lake as the jets come to the northerly runway provides a nice wider view of things.  The near runway allows getting together front quarter shots or to go right underneath for a different perspective.  While most arrivals were Southwest jets, I did see a couple of corporate jets while I was there so there was a bit of variety.

Pretty Mountain Backdrop

My effort to shoot an arriving A350 at SeaTac provided a secondary benefit.  The majority of arriving aircraft land on the outer runway.  This is further away and also has a threshold further up the field.  This means the aircraft are higher up on the approach.  On a clear winter’s day, the planes have the backdrop of the snow covered Olympic mountain range.  They were a bit far away but did provide a rather scenic view.

Lightroom 8.2 Detail Enhancer

Updates to Lightroom come along relatively regularly and they tend to include new features along with fixes and performance tweaks.  The latest update, Lightroom 8.2, includes a new addition called Detail Enhancer.  This is a feature that is designed to provide some better small-scale detail as part of the raw conversion process.  It creates a new DNG file based on a more complex calculation of the demosaicing of the sensor data.

I saw some videos about it and figured it wasn’t going to be of much use for the type of thing I am working on.  However, it did trigger one possible area of interest.  The algorithms are supposed to be designed to make better calculations around the different color pixels that sensors have.  Sensors are set up in a Bayer Pattern where different color sensitive sensors occupy different pixel spaces.  They each record in one color and then software interpolates between them to create colors for each pixel irrespective of which color was originally recorded at that location.

In a post from a while back, I mused on the way in which the colors of the Southwest Livery and the registration clashed and seemed to provide a distorted image even when everything around them was sharp.  I was pondering whether this was artifacting caused by the different colors and the way the sensor was recording the data.  If this was the case, maybe this new functionality would change the way things were rendered.  I dug out a few of the shots that had previously demonstrated this effect and ran the process on them.  These shots show the wide shot, the original rendering of the close up and the revised rendering using Detail Enhancer.

As you can see from the comparisons, Detail Enhancer does not suddenly render a perfect registration for the aircraft.  However, to my eye at least, it does appear as if the results are noticeably better then they were with the original rendering.  For completeness, the original rendering is done with the latest process version of Adobe’s raw converter to make things as fair as possible.  It does appear to make a difference.  This makes me think my theory about whiny things looked wrong might have some merit, even if this update has not fully resolved things.

Air Do

Haneda introduced me to a new airline.  Air Do.  They had a lot of traffic coming through Haneda, both narrowbody and widebody.  In fact, one of their 767s took off in great light as I was walking to the viewing terrace which was a touch frustrating.  It was a long time before another one took off but at least the evening light improved so the wait was worthwhile.  Meanwhile, the 737s were busy and some 767s taxied past after landing so I got to see a few of them in action.