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?
While at Boeing Field, you get a steady stream of traffic for SeaTac overhead. With Delta’s substantial presence at Seattle, the right time of day can mean a few widebodies. The A330 is a big part of their operations and we currently get the old and the new with the -300s and the -900 neos. The conditions looked pretty clear above me but there must have been a lot of moisture around because the jets seemed to be pulling a bit of vapor with them and going in and out of clouds that they seemed to hard to see without them there.
A couple of Kenmore Air planes departed from Kenmore while I was at Log Boom Park. The conditions were pretty damp and humid (and were about to be joined by pretty heavy downpours of rain!). This meant the departing planes had a good chance of pulling some streamers from the prop tips. Sure enough, when the Otter took off (and it started the takeoff run a little early which helped the shooting angles) the prop was streaming some vapor. The shape of the cone of the tip vortices as they flow across the fuselage was quite interesting.
A little while later (and just before the downpour began), a turbo Beaver came out. It, too, pulled some nice vapor from the prop tips as it accelerated across the water. A bit of a cross wind was apparently coming in (no doubt related to the impending storm) and they got airborne one float at a time. At this point we retreated to the car – but not in time to avoid the rain entirely!
Departure day at RIAT was a bit overcast, much like the majority of the show. The damp atmosphere did have the positive effect of meaning many of the more powerful prop aircraft were pulling vortices from the tips of their propellers. This was most obvious earlier in their take off runs but you could get a pretty good view of it even head on from where I was sitting in the FRIAT stand. Here is one of the Hercs that was beating the air into submission.
Damp and cloudy days are not always ideal for aviation photography but they can provide some interesting options. One weekend I was up at Everett when they were approaching from the south. The jets broke out of the cloud at quite low level but there was some light from the side coming under the clouds. The damp air meant that the jets were pulling some conspicuous vortices as they flared for landing. They were a long way off but it was possible to get some shots of them. The 747 produced vortices that were easier to see but the 787s didn’t do too badly either.
The day I was flying out of Narita was not a good day for weather. Another typhoon was approaching and the rain ahead of the storm had reached us. I did initially visit the viewing terrace in the terminal but, as the rain started, I decided to head inside and go to the Delta lounge which has a great view of the runway and the ramp. It wasn’t long before the heavens opened. Departures reversed direction as the wind shifted.
The arriving jets were now throwing up huge clouds of spray as they selected reverse. Combined with the heavy rain already, they were pretty obscured. Editing the photos allows you to do a lot of work with the contrast to bring out more of the detail but the real view was surprisingly limited. Some of the shots are so hidden by rain that there is little that can be done with them. Departures also did a good job throwing up lots of water in their wake.
The amount of moisture in the air meant the inlets would often be fogged, even for the jets that were landing. Trailing vortices were showing on climb out and there was lots of vapor over the wings after takeoff. The only downside to all of this was that the cloudy background makes it harder to apprecaite the effects that were on show. It does show, though, that a rainy day is not necessarily one to be ignored from a photography perspective. You can sometimes get some interesting shots in conditions that seem very unappealing. (It doesn’t hurt to be shooting this from indoors in a warm and dry room with a ready supply of food and beverages.)
There are a lot of air shows that I have been to over the years. You think you remember them well and then something shows up in your archive of images that you have completely forgotten about. I am a member of a Facebook group that has a different challenge each week and, when I get the next challenge, I work through my catalog to see what I have that might contribute. It is an interesting exercise in finding stuff that I had forgotten about.
This wasn’t one of those challenges but I was looking for something else when I came across this shot of an F-22 pulling vapor and shockwaves as it did a fast pass at the Rockford Air Show. Rockford was a great show that I used to go to when I lived in Chicago. They always got great static displays and performers for the flying display. The only limitation was that you were pretty much shooting in to the sun.
This F-22 made a fast pass and was clearly pulling a lot of vapor as it went. I don’t know why I forgot about this sequence but apparently I did. I had a go at processing them again to see what I could make of the shots this time compared to my technique in 2009. Not an easy shot to make work but the plane is dramatic enough to make it worthwhile I think.
The day I left London was a bit damp which made for a bit of vapor on departure. I was sitting almost directly over the wing. I couldn’t see in to the inlet but I could see vapor puffs in front of the inlet at lower speeds anyway. As we rotated and climbed out, there was plenty of vapor puffing over the upper surface, aided by climbing through a few patches of cloud. I had the video running the get a view of the moisture and here is what I got.
More shots from a fun shoot a while back. If the wind is coming from the west, evening departures from O’Hare provide plenty of opportunity to get some shots. The heavy departures to Europe leave later in the afternoon and in to the early evening and, as the sun drops down things are getting better and better. The nice thing about this day was that we got a combination of good conditions. Earlier in the afternoon, while the light wasn’t as good, a storm had not long passed through and there was plenty of moisture in the air.
The result was a lot of vapor in the inlets of the jets as they climbed out at high thrust settings. Some of them had clouds sitting in the inlets for long periods of time. Others would just pulse with the vapor as they climbed away. They would also puff up little clouds over the upper surfaces of the wing as they fought to gain height. As the afternoon wore on, the air dried out a bit and the vapor went away. However, the light was then getting better so no reason to go just yet!
Damp conditions are not uncommon in the Bay. Getting some vapor over the wing during a climb out would not be a surprise. Getting it on the approach can also happen but not so often. A FedEx MD-11 was on the approach to Oakland while I was walking along the shore. As it headed away, they were configured for the final approach as some flashes of vapor showed themselves above the wing. I happened to get them this time.