A had to go to Tokyo for work recently and, for the first time on my transpacific trips, I got a window seat. The low winter sun angle made the clouds look great out of the window as we crossed the ocean heading to Japan. I don’t know what was below us. It might have been the Aleutians or it might have been nothing. I just thought it looked pretty.
When my buddy, Mark, was visiting, he wanted to get a little floatplane flying in and took me along for the ride. Kenmore Air have a ticket you can get for a ride along with the scheduled service. You don’t know exactly where you will be going but you will head out to the Gulf Islands and will be out for about three hours. Originally, they said we would stop off at Lake Union to pick up and drop off but that ultimately wasn’t needed although we do do a flyby as I covered in this post about the Space Needle.
The weather wasn’t too sunny which actually made for some smooth flying conditions. We were in a piston Beaver and probably never got above 1,000’ when transiting. Some of the sections were a bit below that which meant a great view of the scenery. We also saw some boats and they got a post here as well. We skirted passed some islands and over others as we made our way. Our first stop was Friday Harbor and the second was Deer Harbor.
There was a small airfield on one of the islands that we passed close by. A brief look down the runway as we crossed the center line but then it got harder to see. It was surrounded by trees so was hard to make out. These shots are a selection of those that I got as we made our way around the islands and across the bays and inlets. With spring coming, I think I might need to book another one of these trips.
Digging back in to the archives today. Back in about 2005, I was heading back to the UK for work. Our flight arrived in to Heathrow early in the morning and the approach route took us across the center of the city. I was sitting on the right side of the aircraft so was able to get some good shots of the city. My favorite shot was as we turned over the top of Waterloo and looking down at the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament.
I also got some good views from other areas. A nice view across the city which shows just how close everything is within the cities of London and Westminster. We also came south of Kensington which gave a good view of the museum complex and Hyde Park – an area where I lived for three years as a student. The next shot is of Kew Gardens. The glass house and the pagoda are both visible. These have been sitting in the archive for a long time but finally make their way to the blog.
Our aerial adventure with Kenmore Air included a lot of time over the waters of Puget Sound. Very little time was spent over land. The waters were not very busy but there was enough boat traffic to see as we soared overhead. We weren’t always close, though, so sometimes things were watched from a distance. We did have a pretty close pass on a freighter though. It was making good speed heading into the sound.
Ferry traffic is a regular thing to see with the Washington State Ferries heading to and fro across the waters. As we were closing in on Friday Harbor, we saw one ferry. It was a smaller one that was running between the islands and it was a bit hard to get a good view of. The ferries between Edmonds and Kingston are a lot more heavily used and so are a lot bigger. They were passing each other mid crossing as we ran south so I managed to get a few shots of them from above as we headed overhead.
Chicago was a stop off on a work trip. We were on final approach to O’Hare and I was looking out of the window at the industrial areas that surround the airport. There are rail tracks scattered throughout these areas so seeing trains is not a surprise. However, I was a little caught out by what appeared to be some old Metra commuter cars parked up in one space. They have clearly been out of use for a while. If anyone knows who they belong to, please let me know.
San Francisco Bay has some strong tidal flows and crossing the bay is the San Mateo Bridge. It has to resist these regular flows which it does without any problem. There is a lot of silt in the bay and, as the tide is changing, this silt can get churned up, particularly by the turbulence around the piles for the bridge. As we flew down the final approach, I was able to get some shots of the aby that included the bridge and showed clearly the turbulence behind each bridge pile courtesy of the silt. This is something that an aerial view will give you that you would no notice as you drove over the bridge.
The south end of San Francisco Bay has a number of areas that are encircled with walls that allow the water to be cut off. These are used to dry out salt beds for harvesting. The sun evaporates the water and the salt is left when all the water is gone. After harvesting, the tide can be allowed to flood the beds again and the process repeated. One cool thing about these beds is that, presumably as a result of algae, they can turn some interesting colors as the water evaporates. I was flying in to SFO for work and we turned right over the beds on to the approach. With the sun out, the colors looked excellent.
This post was originally going to be based on a shot I got of the University of Washington’s football stadium that I took while were hiking in the park nearby. However, things moved on a bit and I wasn’t too bothered by the shot. Then, as I was coming home from a trip, I was sitting on the left side of the plane as we made our approach over Seattle. I was looking straight down on the university campus and the stadium. I figured this would be a more interesting view for a post so finally the topic makes its way on to the blog.
A previous post showed the start of construction of the new stadium in LA. When I was on that trip, my arriving flight had passed right by the construction site but I didn’t have a camera to hand at the time. I made another LA trip more recently and, this time, I had a camera at hand as we made our final approach. Obviously the construction process has moved on a bit but there is still plenty to be done. Maybe I will make some more trips and get further updates in the future.
NFL fans in a couple of cities are still mourning the loss of their teams to Los Angeles. With the Rams and the Chargers both now based in LA, a new stadium is being built to accommodate them. Meanwhile, they are playing in existing stadiums. The new stadium, when it is finished, will be one of the most extravagant designs and will be used for other tasks including the future Olympics. Right now, construction work is underway. I saw the work site from my plane as I came in to LAX but didn’t have the camera to hand. However, when flying above LAX in the helicopter, I was able to get some shots at a bit of a distance of the work in progress.