I was up at Paine Field after work one day for the arrival of a DHL/Singapore Airlines 777F. Before it was due in, an Alaska Airlines 737 was due in on one of the scheduled flights. Alaska operations at Paine Field originally were just using the Embraers but, with the success of some of the routes, they have upgraded a number of the services to the 737. I thought this would be a good opportunity to see whether the low shutter speed settings I was planning for the 777F would be okay.
I wasn’t going down to some crazy low shutter speed. I wanted to make sure I got a good shot. However, when you are close to the runway, as is the case at the windsock, you don’t need to be too low to get some blur. I was only using the 24-105 at that range as things are very close. The level of background blur I got was okay. It would be good to get more but it was going to be fine for the 777F. When playing with this approach, you know that a bunch of the shots will not be sharp enough. Unfortunately, you never know whether the key moments will be the sharp ones. Fortunately, one of the better shots was with a healthy dose of tire smoke as they touched down. I was happy with the result.
When Boeing launched the 737NG family, the original models were very similar in size to the previous generation of 737s. However, there was pressure for more capacity so they added a new model to the family with the 737-900. A few were sold but it was not a capable enough aircraft and hardly anyone bought any. Instead, Boeing had to redesign the aircraft with some more capacity after redesigning the rear bulkhead and some more range resulting in the 737-900ER. This has sold considerably better. There are still a few -900s around though and Alaska has a few. They are very early jets and they are not worth the investment for adding winglets so they are some of the few NG generation jets to still have wings with the original wingtips. Here is one of them arriving at Paine Field.
Alaska Airlines likes to advertise that it is “Proudly All Boeing”. It isn’t of course. The Q400s and E175s are definitely not Boeing jets. When they bought Virgin America, they acquired a large fleet of Airbus jets too. These are not going to be part of the fleet for long, though. Alaska has made it clear that they are going away. The A319s are apparently too small so are the first in line for replacement. Go to Paine Field and you will come across a bunch of Alaska painted A319s bagged up and awaiting their future. A319s are generally smaller than airlines want these days – it is not that long ago that the A319 was more popular than the A320 but that is no longer the case. I wonder where these will go next.
Airline sponsorship deals around the Star Wars franchise are a big deal these days. I have shot a variety of them over time. The United Rise of Skywalker jet recently got repainted back in to standard United colors. Alaska Airlines has signed a new deal associated with the Disney park attraction and they unveiled the jet after it had been painted in Spokane. I missed its initial visits and then got it one weekend but only in some pretty dingy conditions.
Then I got a second chance at both the arrival and departure one morning when the weather was far more favorable. The airframe is mainly black with a variety of graphics across it. There is a graphic of a porg in a location that is designed to look like a front window. They are also on the winglets. I find that creature annoying so don’t have much interest. However, the addition of Tie Fighters and the Millennium Falcon are better from my perspective. I guess that shows my age.
I got a couple of Alaska Max jets on test on the same day recently. One was still unpainted but the colors were on the rudder and winglets so it was easy to see where it was going. The other jet was already fully painted and probably close to delivery. With me now traveling a little bit more and that travel being with Alaska, maybe I shall get to travel on one before too long. We shall see…
I posted about some night photography I tried on jets approaching SeaTac. After finishing that up I was heading to the terminal to pick up my colleague and I decided to go for a shot of touchdown in the dark. This was not going to be an easy one to get since it is really pretty dark at the north end of the airport so little ambient light. I was relying on the lights of the jet and pushing the ISO to a really high level. It is true that the noise gets really tough in those conditions but when looking at the image at a normal size, it really is not a big deal. Besides, it is a shot we would never have done in pre-digital days.
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.
The arrival of this Alaska 737 on the flight line at Renton got a lot of attention from the locals. A special livery is always going to be of interest but this one is better than the average. The dark blue combined with the orcas is a really cool look. I first saw the jet while it was on the flight line at Renton ahead of a first flight. I wasn’t able to get it as it left Renton but I was able to catch its arrival at BFI. After a few test flights, it has now been delivered to Alaska so now I just have to hope I can catch it in better conditions.
This 182 showed up at Boeing Field during my day off. I was a bit far away from it but wasn’t going to pass up the chance to shoot something new and floats make a Cessna a bit more interesting than it might otherwise be. It didn’t hurt that a Q400 from SEA was climbing out in the background and showed up in a few of the frames.
I was in a location where a couple of the departures from SEA were overflying me. I happened to have the camera to hand (of course I did) and I had the polarizer on there at the time. I had an Alaska Airlines 737 (what a shock from SEA) and a Hawaiian Airlines A330. I grabbed a few shots. The thing I like about the polarizer is cutting down on the glare from the white fuselages but they were still pretty bright. The rest of the sky was darkened considerably and, when editing to address the white fuselages, even more dark. I quite like the deep and moody look it gives to the shots with very little editing involved. Both jets pulled some vapor as they came through the same area so clearly there was extra moisture in that one spot. Maybe it was a thermal?