Tag Archives: airliner

Air Canada Special Early Sunday Departure And Lightroom Masking Options

Air Canada brings a pair of A220-300s in to SEA each evening – one from Toronto and one from Montreal.  They leave the following morning with the Toronto flight heading out early and the Montreal flight following a couple of hours later.  The Toronto flight one weekend was the TCA special aircraft so I decided to head out and catch it departing.

The day started very overcast and gloomy but there was a sign that things were going to get better.  This did happen but things were still not great when the jet departed.  The light had improved a bit but the cloud was still there.  When looking at the shots, I figured it was time to make use of the masking options that Lightroom offers.  The latest update has improved their usability somewhat.  First I drop the exposure of the shot overall to get the sky looking roughly how I want it.  Then I select the aircraft suing the Subject option.  It does a pretty reasonable job but I do then refine it with an addition brush to bring in the bits it has missed and a subtract brush to take out the detail areas where the mask has overlapped.

The new option is the click on this mask and choose the Duplicate and Invert option.  This gives me a sky selection that matches what I have got for the aircraft.  For the sky, I can work on the white balance to bring it back to something more cool which suits the overall look of the shot.  I can similarly work on the white balance for the jet to make the reds pop more in the livery.  The exposure can be brought up a bit with the shadows helping a little while bringing the blacks down while improve the contrast.

All of this is pretty straightforward.  One nice feature of the latest update is that you can actually apply the same settings to multiple images.  The brush adjustments are not going to work well for this so it is best to do the overall selections and sync to the various images and then, if a shot is worthy of further work, the refining of the mask can be done afterwards.  If you know which shot is the best, you can just focus on that one.

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.

Surge of 787s

Nothing too special about this post.  I was out at Boeing Field for the flights of Sentimental Journey but the traffic to SEA was passing overhead.  Most traffic is domestic but you do get the international movements too.  In this case, I got three 787s in very short order.  They came from British Airways, JAL and ANA.  I figured they could have their own post so here you go.

SOFIA Makes An Entrance

One of the highlights of the show at Edwards Air Force Base was the appearance of NASA and DLR’s SOFIA airframe.  A Boeing 747SP that has been converted for infra-red astronomy, this was my first time seeing SOFIA.  It has a large telescope mounted in the rear fuselage with a huge rotating door that opens up when at cruising altitude – above the majority of the atmospheric blockage to IR – to allow the telescope to make observations.

SOFIA is being retired.  There is a debate about whether this is purely budget related or whether the successful launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (which also observes in the infra red spectrum), means that it is no longer needed.  Whatever the reasons, it is being retired and this show was a bit of a swan song.  As part of this, they actually opened up the door for the telescope which, apparently, is a first since it was first commissioned other than while it was observing.

The plane made a run in from show left making a cool pass but this was the side without the telescope visible.  They then turned around and made a banked pass along the crowd line with the telescope visible.  At first I thought that they had blown it because they had a nice bank angle on but were lining up too soon.  However, they straightened up for a while before bringing the bank back on and giving the crowd a good view.

They landed after this and taxied in to where I was waiting but that will be a separate post.

United’s First Max10 (Sort Of)

I saw this jet on the flight line at Renton a while back.  It is a 737-10 and is the first one to be in the colors of United Airlines.  It will probably be their first jet in service (assuming the 737-10 ever gets certificated) but, in truth, the development jets are also going to United (again assuming that ever happens) so they are really United’s first jets.  However, you get the gist of what I am saying.

Airliner Vapor In To SEA

If you were to ask people what characteristic Seattle would be known for, I suspect a fair few people would tell you it is rain.  It is true that we have damp winters here but summers (while a little late in starting) are actually rather dry.  However, we can still have some humid conditions which can be good for forming vapor and, if you watch the jets heading in to SEA, you will often see vortices streaming off the flaps and the occasional puffs of moisture above the wings.

Occasionally, the conditions are just right and you get a lot more vapor.  Better still, if this happens in sunny conditions and the planes are slightly backlit, you can get some lovely rainbow effects showing up.  I got lucky with one such day.  Asiana had an A350 coming in at this time so I was treated to some interesting effects.  A Lufthansa 747 and CargoLogic 777F also arrived but I decided to go with video on those to show off the fleeting nature of the vapor is it formed and dissipated.

National Geographic/Icelandair 757

One weekend, I saw an early arrival of an Icelandair 757 was scheduled for Boeing Field.  The weather was not looking great but it was an unusual arrival and I didn’t have any competing things top do so I went across.  Icelandair has some charter aircraft and this one turned out to be one of those.  I have shot the Abercrombie and Kent jet before.  This is a high end tourist operation that takes people from exotic location to exotic location.  On this occasion, it was something similar.  This time the operation was National Geographic.  When I saw the plane, I was quite surprised but not so much that I could grab a few shots!

Not Often You Get To See A 747 These Days

Passenger 747s are few and far between these days but the freighter world still has plenty of them.  Even so, seeing a 747 is coming in is a nice addition to an afternoon.  Heathrow’s arrivals included a Cathay Pacific Cargo 747-8F which was a nice bonus.  I haven’t had much luck with the Cathay 747-8Fs over the years so was looking forward to it showing up.  I had positioned a lot closer to the approach path when it came in and I wondered whether I might have too much lens since the 8F is the longest variant.  Fortunately, it all worked out just fine and the sun played ball too.

The A380s Aren’t Dead After All

Aviation enthusiasts are an odd bunch.  They love aviation but they can really hate certain types.  The emotions can really run high and no type exemplifies this more than the A380. The project hasn’t been a success by modern standards and production has now ended.  This provides much glee for some people for some reason.  I’m not sure why they feel the lack of success for a plane makes their life better but whatever.

I have flown on the A380 a couple of times and it was a great experience.  I always like seeing them.  Variety is sadly lacking in modern aviation and anything different is welcome as far as I am concerned.  The onset of the pandemic resulted in many airlines parking all sorts of types and the A380s were clearly a target.  If there are no passengers, the largest capacity jet is not going to be helpful.  The death of the A380 was widely proclaimed.  However, it turns out that this was a bit premature.

A few airlines have been reinstating their fleets and more are coming back out of storage.  British Airways has their fleet back in action.  Emirates is using theirs heavily.  At Heathrow, I also saw Qatar and Qantas using theirs again.  (Qatar might be more related to their spat with Airbus over A350s and the need for any capacity they can get.) It is good news that they are still around.  We shall see what the future brings for some of the other jets that are still stored.

Lufthansa NEOs

Lufthansa was a launch customer for the A320neo and took delivery of some of the earliest airframes.  They now have an extensive fleet of the jets and they seem to be flying in to Heathrow very frequently.  I ended up shooting a bunch of their jets in my brief excursion.  I am not a big fan of their newest livery but, while it looks dull on the bigger jets, I actually feel like it suits the A320 a little better.