Tag Archives: day

Departure Day

I have been to a bunch of shows at RIAT and have done arrivals day a few times too.  One thing I had not managed to do before was be there for departure day.  I wasn’t going to be able to do the full day because I needed to head off on the next leg of our vacation but I got a good chunk of the time.  Of course, the weather continued its theme of overcast conditions.  There were certain things I really wanted to see which didn’t always work out whether it was Tornados going when I wasn’t there or things that departed up field and didn’t come near us.

Even so, there was a great selection of interesting bits and pieces to see heading out.  Some of them just took off and climbed away normally.  Others seemed to be trying to get as high as possible quickly which wasn’t much fun for the gathered photographers.  A few put on a decent wag of the wings to please us.  The rotation point for most aircraft was quite a way from where we were which was a bit of a shame as rotation can make for an interesting shot.  A bit of heavy cropping and you can get the idea.  At least the lack of sun reduced the amount of heat haze.  Here is a gallery of a bunch of shots from the time I had.

Riding the Streetcar for Myself

I picked up the Oklahoma City streetcar from the stop across from my hotel.  There are two routes in the city – one that runs around the downtown area and another shorter loop that goes from the convention center development area back to Bricktown.  The car I got was on the Bricktown Loop and, since I wanted to do the full run, I hopped off at the next stop and waited for the next car.

I got on board along with a guy that had come to check it out despite his skepticism.  He ended up meeting a few people he knew and seemed pretty impressed by the whole thing.  The vehicles have a battery system on board which allows them to run for periods without overhead wires.  This is particularly helpful where the line runs under the main railroad.  The bridges there are too low to allow for overhead wires so the system involves periods on battery and periods on wire when the batteries can be recharged,

Lots of people were out making use of the free introductory period.  Given that it was a Friday, this was a good indication.  Hopefully the system will prove to be a success.  It is part of a number of measures that the city is implementing to improve the live ability of the area.  I wish them well.

Streetcar Opening Day

I used to make regular trips to Oklahoma City for a streetcar project I was working on.  I ended up having to pick up another project which meant I dropped the streetcar project when the vehicle contract had been approved and signed and my colleague took on the delivery phase.  However, I promised I would be back for the grand opening.  Mid December was the time when the system was opened up.

Fortunately, I was already within three hours of OKC for another project so I drove up for the celebrations.  The project team had a dinner the night before which was a great chance to get back together with some old faces.  The opening was on the following morning.  We had an early photo session with project team members at 7:30 on a chilly Friday.  The main opening ceremony started at 10:00.  It was still pretty cold but plenty of people had shown up for the evening.  Speeches from those involved and then it was time for the first rides.

I skipped the initial runs and instead went to have a look at the maintenance facility that had been constructed as part of the project.  It was a nice job that had been put together by all involved.  After checking it all out, I parted ways with my old colleagues.  Before heading home, it was time to ride the full route.  That will be another post.

Mustangs Day

wpid11915-AU0E8990.jpgAnother day out took me to Vacaville to visit Nut Tree Airport for their Mustangs Day. While I wasn’t planning this as a feature for Global Aviation Resource, I did end up putting together a BloGAR piece for the site about the day out. A slightly less formal write up which is more about my day than the event. If you want to check it out, the link is below.


wpid11921-C59F8876.jpgIf you don’t check that out (please do though), here is a smaller sample of the aircraft that were around that day. I was getting a little silly playing with very slow shutter speeds so some things did not come out as planned but it was fun all the same.

Veterans’ service

With Veterans’ Day upon us, the city of Chicago held a service at the Vietnam War Memorial.  This is located just across the river from me and, when I saw that something was being set up, I went across to see.  It is the fiftieth anniversary of the Vietnam War and there are additional elements of remembrance that are associated with that.

The mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel was speaking at the event as was an alderman who served with the Marines in Vietnam.  It was not a huge event but there were plenty of people there and it was all done in a very classy yet personal way.  All of the services were represented and there were many veterans in the crowd as well.  I am certainly glad I found out it was going on.

Happy Birthday USA

Today is a nation’s birthday.  As a Brit living in the US, I often get asked about how I feel about Independence Day.  I point out that, if Brits got upset about the independence day of every nation that we once controlled, we would hardly ever get out of bed.  I don’t mind things that happened over 200 years ago.  I do like having a day off though!  I plan on enjoying it and I hope you do too – wherever you may be!

Turn the River a Slightly Different Color

Since the birthday of this blog has just passed, I am now going to spend my time repeating previous blog posts from a year ago.  Seems a lot easier than creating new content.  In fact, for those of you with an inquisitive nature, I will make things easier and you can go to this post to see what I wrote before and decide for yourself whether I am being original or whether I am totally ripping off my own work.  If it is different, has the quality of my posts improved???

This year St Patrick’s Day was a Saturday.  I am not sure whether this really made any difference because the city chooses a Saturday to celebrate everything and that is the party day whatever the date.  The odd thing this year is that it was warm.  Mid 70s is not what you expect for this time in March.  In fact, my first St Patrick’s Day in Chicago, we went to see the parade and gave up half way through because we were thoroughly frozen!

This time being too warm was more of an issue.  I won’t go in to whether the madness that the city falls in to is any way related to St Patrick or even the Irish (and we shall leave the fact that Patrick wasn’t Irish anyway for another day!).  Instead, I am going to focus on the tradition of dying the river green.  I went down to join the crowds and see how things were developing.  It was very busy with the weather really bringing out the crowds.

Dying the river went fine despite the coxed eights that didn’t get out of the way in time.  The Police boats seemed mad but hadn’t made an effort to get rid of them ahead of time so what did they expect.  It was funny to see the speed boats running close by and putting quite a wash over the eight who looked less than happy about how close they were to sinking!

Watching the crowds was also fun.  You do see some sights on a day like today and some of them can be photographed.  However, you also have to be careful since the drinking starts early and can affect the good humor of some people!

Model Day in 15 Seconds

You might be a bit bored with me playing with time lapse video.  If so, look away now!  Here comes another one.  We had guest visiting for the New Year and one of the things we took them to see was the scale model of the city.  The Chicago Architecture Foundation has a shop on Michigan Avenue and the building in which the shop is located has a large atrium.  In this atrium is a model of the city.

All of the buildings in the Loop and some of the surrounding areas have been accurately recreated using stereolithography.  This is a technique using resin and lasers that builds solid objects one minute slice at a time creating a solid object of great complexity.  If you are interested in the technique, head over to YouTube and search for the term and you will come across a number of videos showing it in action.

The model is set up in the atrium with custom lighting.  Apparently, the lighting is designed to recreate the pattern of the sun from sunrise to sunset over a 15 minute period.  I had been to the model a number of times and had shot details of it before.  This time, I decided I wanted to get a time lapse of the light progressing across the model to see how it came out.  Since I had the plan ready in advance, as soon as we got to the place, I set up the camera and then went back down to join the rest of the crew.  There is enough in the model to keep people interested for 15-20 minutes so I wasn’t going to delay everyone.  It did mean, however, that I had to carry a bunch of stuff around with me for the rest of our walk!

Enough of the back story.  Here is the video that resulted.  To be honest, I don’t think the lighting effects are as obvious as I had hoped that they would be.  However, you do get to see some of the movement of the light.

Firework City – or not!

Chicago has traditionally held a pretty impressive fireworks display to celebrate the 4th of July.  Since I have lived here, the fireworks have been let off a day early on the 3rd.  While I have never bothered to find out why, I have always assumed it was because they wanted a ton of people to come and see them and this they could do and still see their own local town displays on the 4th.  I guess it worked because up to 2 million people would show up to watch.

Last year, with the city feeling a bit hard up for cash, they did away with the big display and had three smaller displays spread out along the lakefront.  This year, no display at all.  I guess it isn’t the cost of the display that is the issue.  The cost of dealing with 2 million people is a little bit more of an issue!

All is not lost, though.  Navy Pier holds firework displays every Wednesday and Saturday throughout the summer so one more is not a big deal for them.  Consequently, we took a stroll out to the lake to watch the display.  It was a nice show.  Not a stunning display like some I have seen but I’m not complaining.  It still had a lot of people showing up to watch but nothing like the normal event.  It was on the 4th as well.

I like taking pictures of fireworks but I have found I like the shots a lot more if there is some context to them.  I am not a big fan of shots that just have the explosion filling the frame.  With a display out over the lake, my options were relatively limited.  The big Chicago displays are over the harbor and, if you watch from the planetarium, you have the skyline as part of the shot.  That certainly is worthwhile.

I don’t put a lot of effort in to the shots.  I set up the camera as I want the frame to be making some guesses about how big the larger blooms will be.  Then I hold the cable release and have fun watching the display.  I can trigger the shots (bulb mode) as I think looks good without distracting myself from having fun enjoying the show.  Sometimes they are better than others but anything is just a nice side benefit from a good display.

As an aside, if you notice something in the skies, an airship was up watching the display too.  That is what you may see blurred out in some of the shots.