The conference center in Pittsburgh was my destination for a rail conference in June. I was there for several days but it was only on the last day that I managed to get some time to head up to the roof area of the center. It had some interesting gardens with views across the roof structure and some art installations. It also had a great view across the river. The top wasn’t the only interesting spot. There was a route under the center too which I found on my first day there when I was struggling with how to actually get into the place. It was not very intuitive which, given the nature of the place, seems rather odd. I saw a few people riding bikes through this lower level, but I never went down there.
As my day at the canyon continued (you can read about the beginnings here), I got a bit more luck. The Navy came to the rescue with some Hornets and Super Hornets making their way through the canyon. One came in at an odd angle and then pulled out of the canyon over the overlook location. This was fine for me but probably annoyed those further down the canyon.
Then we got something a lot more like what we had anticipated. Jets came in along the angle from the highway starting out a lot lower than those that had come across the ridge. They could drop in a lot more quickly and be deeper into the canyon as they came by. This was what it was all about. They provided a last minute contribution to what I had come for and I was very grateful. A few more would have been good but it was okay.
Once disappointing aspect of this was that, with so few jets coming through, I shot all of them. I didn’t have the opportunity to waste so I never got to keep the camera down and just appreciate the jets transitioning through below me for what it was. On my next trip I will hopefully get to do that as well as get some shots.
Photographing low flying jets in their environment is a popular challenge. The Loop in Wales is a great hunting ground. I have driven through there a few times and flown through there once but I have never been on a photo expedition there. Once I got close to setting up a trip but things got in the way. In the US, Rainbow Canyon is a popular spot. This canyon is known by a variety of names but it is well known for having jets flying through below the rim of the canyon so you can get shots of them beneath you.
I arranged to head there a short while ago with a buddy of mine. The two of us were going to meet in LA and head up. Sadly, he was unable to make the trip at the last moment but I figured I would go anyway as winter is a more acceptable time to be in Death Valley National Park and the chances of finding the time again soon were limited. I did stay up in Palmdale to shorten the drive a bit.
The trip had mixed results. We did not have a busy day. Plenty of jets could be heard overhead or in the distance but the number coming through the canyon was low. I probably got nine passes that day. More disappointing was how some of them were quite high and not against the backdrop of the rocks. Things did improve though…
The Lake District is an area that is known to be popular for low flying military aircraft. In all of the years I have been going there, I have hardly seen any jets coming through. Mainly that was because I was there at the weekend and the military don’t tend to fly much at the weekend. I was hopeful that we might see some traffic on this trip since we would be there midweek. We did get some traffic but it didn’t go quite as planned.
A few times we saw Hawks zipping over the town while we were outside. We were generally getting ready to go somewhere else and they caught me out as they came through. On one hike I took a long lens with me. Of course, this didn’t go to plan. Most of the time I was looking at some lovely scenery so I had a wide lens on the camera. This was the time the RAF chose to show up. No jets this time but a selection of Tucano turboprop trainers. I wasn’t expecting them when they came through so grabbed the camera with the lens I had on at the time and got a few shots. These won’t be of much use to me but they do remind me of the excitement of being caught out be a low flying plane of any type.