The Bristol Harbour Railway is a heritage railway in Bristol (what a shock!) that runs along the south side of the docks. I understand it operates short tourist runs at various times up towards the SS Great Britain. It wasn’t operating while we were there although one of the locomotives had been fired up for some purpose. It was nice and warm to stand next to it on what was a bit of a cool and damp day.
There was a selection of locomotives and wagons both near the museum building and parked along the docks. I don’t know whether they were all usable or some were exhibits. There was one locomotive that was clearly undergoing a major refurbishment. I imagine it is a popular attraction on weekends and busy summer days.
The number of times I have just missed something or didn’t even know it was close by I cannot count. However, sometimes I can get lucky, and I had one day when things just clicked. The result will be several posts. I was at Boeing Field to catch a test jet from Gulfstream (which I did and will appear here soon). I was waiting for it to show up on approach and was scanning FlightRadar24 when I saw an odd registration appear turning in to the approach. I tapped on it, and it showed as a Hawker Hunter.
Needless to say, this was quite a surprise. Then, another one appeared. The two came down the approach in trail. I got shots of both of them being a little brave/reckless with my shutter speed. Even as this was happening, a third and a fourth popped on screen and it was not long before the second pair had made it into my viewfinder.
They taxied to the ramp at Modern and shut down. Sadly, I wasn’t able to be there when they made the next leg of their trip to Alaska. One was delayed by engine issues and my friend was able to get some shots of it testing. I was hoping to catch them during their return but that took place while I was up in the Islands. However, I had got them once and that was a lucky break I am grateful for.
Only my second visit of the year to Exotics@RTC and it was another special day. This time it was Classics which seems to be a rather generic term but does provide for a bunch of older cars or all sorts of origins to be included – particularly stuff that wouldn’t normally have its own day! A star of the show was this Bugatti 57. I had got there early to try and get some shots before the crowds built up and it arrived while I was walking around. I got some shots of it driving up and then once it was parked.
It rapidly got a lot of attention. Later on, when I was trying to get some shots of it from above, I realized that there was always such a throng of people in the vicinity that my usual technique of blending multiple shots would not work. I was glad to have been there early! I don’t know how these cars get valued. I looked up sale prices for these vehicles and there were some that went in the millions and others that were in the hundreds of thousands. Where this one sits in relation to all of those, I have no idea. I do know the owner was very happy to let people sit in it and have their picture taken which is the great thing about events like this.
Word reached me from my friend, Bob, that the CAF squadron at Arlington was planning to get some training done with their Reliant one Saturday. I thought this would be worth a trip as I had previously left one of their events thinking that they weren’t going to fly and they did. When everyone else got good shots of this plane, I was a touch annoyed. Time to rectify this.
They were putting a few pilots through sorties to get time in the plane. In the early part of the day, the weather was a little overcast so not great for shots but okay. Of course, as the day drifted on and the sun moved around to the other side, things brightened up. Just in time to be backlit. At this point, I decided to call it a day and head home. I did also have some good time near the plane while it was being refueled so I am quite happy with the results, even if they are nothing special.
I was planning to head up to Skagit for the May Fly Day at the Heritage Flight Museum anyway. As it turned out, I had been talking with Rich at COAP about the trip he was leading and, when he asked if I would like to tag along with their group, I said yes. They had been working with the Museum and arranged some opportunities to shoot from locations that normal ticket access wouldn’t allow.
The team at COAP and the team at the museum were super helpful and friendly. Add to that, the weather was great and the combination of aircraft they were able to put up was excellent so, the day was set to be a bunch of fun. It did not disappoint. I have shot at the museum fly days before but, sometimes, the planes I was after didn’t fly and sometimes the conditions weren’t ideal. On this occasion, everything came together. I did play around with my shots trying to get more dynamic images. The high vantage point we had available helped with that too.
I took a ton of shots and culled them heavily. The result was a few shots I was particularly happy with and it was nice that the museum shared a few of them on their social media platforms too. Seeing the Skyraider fly is always cool but the day was a trainer day and they put up some great trainer formations. The conditions were a little bumpy but they made a good job of it and there were shots to be had. I look forward to the next time I am up there.
A jump back to the visit of Sentimental Journey last year. Because she was here for a while, I was able to shoot from a variety of locations to try and get some different shots of her. The weather played ball while she was in Seattle unlike the conditions at Arlington the following week. It was fun to try some different angles on the same plane since I had got the initial shots I wanted.
Glorious weather had greeted the B-17, Sentimental Journey, when it came to Seattle. The following week, it moved up to Arlington but was not so lucky. The skies were pretty overcast and the air was more humid. It didn’t make for great conditions to shoot a bare metal aircraft. However, many times before, I have written here about how poorer conditions can sometimes be worthwhile. This was one of those times.
I started off shooting from further up the field and, as the B-17 started her takeoff roll, it was clear that the props were pulling a fair bit of vapor from the air. Consequently, I headed further down the field for the next flight. This also provided a close look at the plane as it taxied out. The real benefit came when the power was applied. Vortices were streaming from the tips of the props and swirling back across the wings. It is always a tricky call when trying to shoot in these conditions. A good bit of prop blur is good as is a blurry background to emphasize speed but, this will result in the vortices being less defined. A faster shutter speed helps make them stand out. I tried to get a good balance with the speed I chose.
There are a few operators of large warbirds that take their planes on tours around the country providing people with an opportunity to check out the planes or, if they are willing to splash some cash, take a flight in them. Sentimental Journey is a B-17 that undertakes such flights and it came to the Pacific Northwest during the summer. I was at Boeing Field for a week before moving on to Arlington (of which more another time).
Because it does much of its business at the weekends, it is relatively easy to find time to come and see it fly. It did also do some flying later in the day so I was able to see it a few times. It certainly helped that the weather was really nice. I got some shots of it as it came to Boeing Field and then made some trips around the Puget Sound area. Here are some of the shots from that time. I did spend a little more time trying out shots from different places and those will get another post soon.
In 2015, I made a trip to Madras Oregon for an air-to-air photography course. Based at the Erickson museum, we had an interesting few days discussing the approach to air to air photography as well as the chance to get some shots while airborne. I had a good look around the museum while I was there as well but I was looking forward to a chance to check it out again when we headed south through Oregon. Madras was on our route from Hood River to Klamath Falls so it was a definite stop.
We didn’t have a huge amount of time available to spend at the museum but we had enough to get a reasonable look around. They were busy preparing aircraft since they were taking a few planes to the show at Klamath Falls that we were going to see. As a result, some of the planes were either out on the ramp or at the front of the hangar being prepped for their ferry south.
There seemed to be more planes than I remembered from my previous trip and things were definitely squeezed in. Of course, it might just be my memory not being up to par. The more unusual types like the Bellanca or the Mauler are always worth a look but everything in the collection looks great.
The Oregon trip with Mark provided a lot of options for additional aviation experiences while we were en route to the main event in Klamath Falls. This included a stop off at Hood River to check out the museum there. I had heard that it was an impressive collection of both planes and cars and that was no understatement. When it comes to older aircraft, I am well out of my depth. My interest in aviation came out of the military side of things in the 80s and the era of WWII and before was not something I paid any attention to.
The result of this is that a museum like Hood River is full of aircraft that I know nothing about. I couldn’t identify many of them if asked and, when there are many variants of a given make, I don’t recognize what distinguishes them and whether one or other of them is significantly rarer than any other. Instead, I just find it interesting to look at the wide variety of looks and finishes that the planes have.
The Hood River museum certainly provides me plenty to choose from in that regard. There are so many aircraft in there and, while they have several hangars, it is not unfair to say that things are pretty on top of each other in order to get everything to fit in. It is also a little dark but, since modern cameras are so good in low light conditions, this isn’t really a problem anymore.
Mark and I are both plane guys so the car collection was not a big focus for us. We did take a look at to some of the vehicles that were there but, since we had a schedule to keep if we were to get to Klamath Falls in time for some dinner, we had to focus on the planes. There is no way I could cover the collection in one blog post and I won’t even try. Instead, I shall provide a tiny selection of what we saw. Maybe, as I work through some of the shots, I shall revisit the collection in some future posts.