Crappy conditions are not usually what you are after when photographing aircraft but, sometimes it is what you get and you have to make the best of it. One upside is that, if you are somewhere with a reasonable amount of traffic, you can play around with getting shots of something you weren’t necessarily focused on. While standing in the snow waiting for the Skycourier’s arrival, I did have a Falcon 50 on approach. I like the Falcon 50 a lot so this would normally have my attention already. However, crummy conditions almost left me in the car. I decided at the last minute to try it anyway.
I was really quite pleased with the patterns that the snow made around the jet as it came in. in such bad light, the landing lights are always going to be more dominant and their ability to light up the snow flurries ahead of them can work out well. These pictures will probably never be gracing anyone’s walls but I got a kick out of them when I went through them back at home.
The water in Crater Lake was very smooth when we were there which made for great reflections of the rim of the caldera. One the other side of the crater, there was a snow bank on the side of the bowl which looked like a parallelogram. With the reflection in the water, I thought it looked a bit like an arrowhead. I am not much of a visionary when it comes to abstract images but even I saw this and thought it looked promising.
While Mark and I were visiting Crater Lake, we saw a guy wandering down the hill to get a better shot. The only problem was that he was on the snow bank and there was no way of knowing whether the snow was on solid rock or even was stable. It didn’t seem like a good place to go and stand, even if the photo was better for it. A short while later, I was looking up at the side of a cliff and saw this snow build up on the cliff edge. This looked like just the sort of thing that could go at any time. I wondered whether the space the guy had been on was more reliable than this!
Driving down through Oregon, you have no shortage of mountains to see. There are plenty of volcanos in the state and other mountains which may or may not be volcanic. On a longer drive, you find yourself trying to work out which mountain is which. Normally they are far enough away to not make a picture worthwhile. However, as we came over a ridge and dropped down the other side, the view dead ahead was too good to ignore. I just pulled to the side of the road and grabbed a few shots. A car was pulling away as I approached so, clearly, this was not an original idea!
My return journey from Chelan brought me over Stevens Pass on a sunny day. I had a schedule to get back for another meeting so wasn’t able to loiter too much but I still managed to take a few minutes out to stop and grab a couple of shots. There aren’t many places to stop going over Stevens Pass but, coming down from the summit heading west, there is a pull out and so I made my first use of that. I also stopped coming in to Index to grab a snack from the coffee hut there which has a nice view of Mount Index.
Snowy Cascades shots are pretty but I was shooting from an airliner on my way for a work trip and the mountains were sitting amongst the clouds. Getting a good shot from a plane of a white subject when contrast is not going to be great is a risk but this came out better than I expected. It won’t be too long before the snow is melted and we shall have to wait for half a year to get something like this again.
The snow that stopped our trip to Cannon Beach was heavy over the hills and it required traction devices in order to be allowed on the road. Since we didn’t have winter tires, I went shopping for some chains. Unfortunately, they weren’t available in the size of my wheels and the clearances were not great. However, I was introduced to something I had never heard of before. They had chains, cables and socks. I knew of chains, of course, and cables are just a version of chains but with (don’t be surprised) cables. Socks are a more recent addition to the range.
They are a legal alternative and actually provide as good or better traction than chains. They are a fabric covering for the tire. One side has straps that go across the outside and an elasticated band is on the inside. You hook them over the tire and pull down as much as you can and then roll the car forward half a turn to finish pulling them in to place. Removal is the opposite.
They were actually pretty easy to use and, after a short bit of driving, I stopped to check them and they had actually self-aligned straightening out any unevenness. They worked a treat. Traction and braking were not a problem. I was worried about their durability but maintaining the speed limit of 25mph for the 40 or so miles we drove caused no issues and they look just fine after removal. I imagine that they don’t have the durability of chains so regular use would suggest chains as a better option but as an occasional requirement, they worked great.
Our trip to Cannon Beach got delayed a day by snow on the hills which you have to cross to get to the Oregon coastline. When we did make the crossing, not only were we properly equipped (as shall be seen in another post) but the weather was transformed. The sun was out, and it looked picturesque. The snow was still heavy on the trees and the hillsides while the road was compacted snow. Consequently, it was white everywhere. We were on a major road that would normally be traversed at speed but, due to the traction devices fitted, we were limited to 25mph. It made the crossing pretty protracted, but it did provide ample time to look around and see the scenery – and the occasional vehicle off the road!
It seems like we get one big snow storm a year where we live. It might not last long (although it has once) but it can give us a decent dump of snow. This year was the same thing. We got about a foot of snow. The weather warmed up soon afterwards but for a couple of days, we had lots of snow. I took a walk around to see what it was like. Quite a slow walk given how deep the snow was in places. Here are some shots from that weekend. I also took some video while I was out so the video clip is below too. The best bit was the guy with the ATV pulling a bunch of people around on sleds! They looked like they were having a blast.
On the way in to Leavenworth, I took a side street looking for a good parking option. As we drove along this road, it took us close to the river and a sign for the waterfront park. I had no idea about this park previously so we decided to check it out after walking through the town for a while. Turns out it is a great set of trails that run along the river. There are a couple of islands with bridges between them connecting everything together to make the park.
Each of the islands has a choice of trails so you don’t have to go out and back but can vary your route. The ground was a bit icy underfoot in places but generally it was clear and plenty of people were out enjoying the views. The river is to the south of the park while there are inlets around the islands formed as the water constantly changes the landscape. There were also signs talking about the history of the area. A stretch of wooden piles were arrayed out in to the river at what I assume was once a loading pier. The lumber business was once dominant in the area.