While the 787-10 was never built at Everett, there have been a few that have come here for completion before delivery to their airlines. One such jet was for Saudia or Saudi Arabians Airlines. It was painted in a scheme that was a close resemblance to their livery from the 80s and 90s. I had thought that it was a retro effort on their part, but I have since heard that this might actually be the livery for the fleet going forwards.
Whether that is the case or not, I did take me back to a shot I got in 1988. I was working for the CAA in the UK on noise measuring duties and got to spend a week inside the fence at Heathrow taking readings of departing aircraft. One of these was a 747-300 of Saudia. I had my camera with me that week and was able to get photos between taking readings. I thought it might be interesting to compare the old Saudia livery with the newer version.
When Horizon was still flying the Q400s, they painted a bunch of them in the colors of Pacific Northwest universities. The Q400s have gone and the Embraer E175-E1s are now the only aircraft flown by Horizon. Thankfully, they have decided to continue the practice. While we were away, I saw that a jet had been painted in Washington State colors with “Go Cougs” written in the fuselage. I was disappointed to have missed its arrival but it wasn’t long before it was scheduled for an evening arrivals in to Paine Field.
It was a Sunday and we had been up in Skagit County and I didn’t know whether our return would be in time (or if I was going to have to suggest a diversion on our way home to Nancy). As it was, we got home in good time and I had a while before I headed back out. With the seasons turning in the direction of autumn, the light is getting nicer and it was ideal conditions when the jet came down the approach. I could have waited for the departure but I had what I wanted and there was still dinner to think about so I headed home again.
The end of the Q400 operations at Horizon meant the departure of their special paint scheme with a retro livery. However, it wasn’t long before a new Embraer E175-E1 was delivered in the same scheme. I ended up coming across it a few times quite quickly after it was introduced and have seen it a bunch of times since. I think it looks pretty good in the old colors and we’ll have it looking like that for quite some time. I did catch it in some murkier conditions as it departed Paine Field one evening but it turned out to suit the livery quite well and I was pleased with the way that the shots turned out.
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.
Shooting at an airport you don’t normally get to shoot at means you have the opportunity to shoot airlines that you wouldn’t see otherwise. What can be even nicer is if you get a special livery on one of these jets. (There is a small element in the back of your head that worries about not having shot the normal livery and that you still won’t have because of the special but that churlish thought needs to be suppressed!) Three of the jets coming in from overseas were in special finishes as was one of the locals. British Airways had an A320neo in a paint finish that was sky blue. I actually watched it depart too when waiting to board my flight home.
Kenya Airways flies their 787s in to London. The jet that came in on this day had a graphic of rhinos on the rear fuselage. Not a totally different livery but a nice addition. Brussels Airlines flies their A320s in to Heathrow and the airframe I saw was in a Tintin scheme that covered the whole airframe. It looked really good. Royal Jordanian was the last of my specials. Its 787 had a graphic advertising the city of Petra which covered the side of the jet. All nice efforts by the respective airlines.
Sentry Eagle 2022 had a couple of F-16s on static display that had been painted up in special color schemes. They were supposed to be throwback schemes but, according to those I know that know more about these sorts of things, there are some issues with the schemes that they chose. I have no idea about such things but I have to say, neither scheme seemed to look that great to me. They felt slightly cartoonish but I can’t come up with a better explanation what it was.
Getting shots of them both was not straightforward. First, there were a ton of people around as they were central to the static displays for the show. Also, the sun was very high and bright and they was a lot of contrast to deal with. One of them was also close to a shadow from a hangar which made for even more contrast issues. Since we weren’t staying on base for the full show, I only had a narrow window to work with. It did improve just before we left, thankfully.
Alaska Air is going through a re-fleeting process in the near future. They are consolidating types in service with some aircraft disappearing. The Airbus fleet is on the way out which is no great surprise to anyone. The Horizon fleet is also getting some changes with a focus on the Embraers and the Q400 turboprops also going away. The Q400s have been ubiquitous in the Pacific Northwest for so long that I didn’t always pay them much attention. Now I need to think about them a bit more.
One of the fleet has been painted in a retro paint scheme for Horizon’s days gone by. Despite it being a plane that should appear at Seattle multiple times a day, I had never seen it before. Therefore, I was very pleasantly surprised to see it at Portland when we were down there. Our photo location was directly above the ramp that the Horizon planes were operating from and the south runway, which was their runway of choice, was convenient too so I was able to get a bunch of shots of it in action. How long before this plane and all of its sisters are gone from the area.
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.
The creation of the airline alliances has allowed airlines to serve a wider range of routes than they could sustain themselves. Part of their obligation as a member of the alliance is to have some of their aircraft painted in alliance colors. Sadly, these liveries are not that exciting but I suppose it is some variety. I was quite surprised to get an Air France 777-300ER in SkyTeam colors vacating the runway at the same time a United 777-200ER in Star Alliance colors was taxiing the opposite direction. I felt like the scene for a stand off but no such thing occurred.
Early morning at Washington National and I was waiting for my flight home after a work trip to DC. As I sat at the gate, a JetBlue aircraft was coming up from the south end of the field. It was painted in a red scheme representative of the fire department of NY. They have a few different special liveries on their jets but a bright red one is quite the opposite of their normal look. Sadly, the light was a bit dull but I wasn’t passing up the opportunity to get a shot, even if it was through the terminal windows.