Getting around to it

So, it has been about 2 weeks now since Heidi & I got back from Honeymoon and with all the craziness of Thanksgiving, then Heidi’s birthday, I finally get a chance to plonk myself in front of the computer to work on some photos.  So up first today are some of my shots from the Grand Canyon… just a couple

From Honeymoon
From Honeymoon
From Honeymoon
From Honeymoon

Number 2!

So this week I managed to get Air Force 2 when it was visiting Seattle. I have spotted Air Force Once twice before (once in MSP and the other in SEA earlier this year, or was it last? I don’t remember) and getting the USAF’s 757 had been elusive. I have shots of their 737s (unpainted) but never the C-32 (which is the Military designation for the 757). I was a bit worried that since it was a South Flow out of Boeing Field that the photos from the Museum of flight (where I had a meeting before the flight took off) would not be any good. Thankfully due to the pilots holding it on the runway until the very last minute, I got some fantastic examples of a typical 757 take off. If it was a fighter it would be called a “Zoom Climb” i reckon.

From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014

Unlike the VC-25A (which is the military designation for the 747 that acts as “Air Force One”) the C-32 is a straight 757 bought as if it was a commerical aircraft. No modifications for Air to Air Refueling or jamming equipment & the like. So sorry VP Biden, you are just rolling on a standard 757, albeit a pretty one!

Some Plane Porn for you all

Been doing a lot of Plane Spotting lately so here are some pretty things for you:

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Avianca 787-8

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Avianca 787-8

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Virgin Atlantic 787-9

From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014

Air China 747-8i

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Etihad 787-9

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Air China 747-8i

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Virgin Atlantic – 787-9

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Ethiopian Cargo – 777F

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Dassault Falcon 2000

More to come later in the week!

A Special Moment

On Monday it became official that I had won a competition. Even though I found out last friday and now posting to you all a week later I figured it was about time to spread the word. A few months back Condor Airlines (part of the Thomas Cook Group of airlines and based in Frankfurt) put out a competition. Submit a photo of one of their aircraft in the new heart livery, or one of their special schemes and you could win $1000 travel voucher.

I had totally forgotten about this competition between when I entered and when I got advised I had made the finals. I am pretty sure I saw this come out on twitter and though, hey I have some photos of condor, why not. I was lucky enough to have gotten one of the special schemes while up in Anchorage back in May. I had a wide range of photos and figured I would enter the one that screams Anchorage. A Take off shot with mountains in the background. It wasn’t my best work but hey, I didn’t expect to win.

I submitted the photo and then totally forgot about it. All the way up till about 2 weeks ago when I got a twitter DM asking me for a copy of the high res version for the finals. I was pretty happy about that, but then last Friday morning I am sitting and work and here twitter go off. I loaded up tweetdeck (since I was at my pc) and see a direct message from Condor saying “Congratulations”. I was shocked, utterly shocked. I had not ever thought I would win and really only submitted that photo because I figured I had nothing better to do. There are far better aviation photographers out there, way better than I am, I have also taken much better photos in my life, but damn was I over the moon. Here is the photo that I submitted

From Anchorage Spotting

Fast forward to Monday and it becomes official. The All Stars page shows my photo and then last night I recieved my voucher in the mail. What prompted this photo was actually another tweet this morning. Condor gave a Friday shout out to everyone and then also changed around there Twitter header to my photo:

Condors Twitter Header

Condors Twitter Header

That to me is a huge honor. Not only did my photo win, but it is now being seen by anyone world wide! The whole thing makes me smile, just looking at that tweet that says they have my photo up. I feel like my hobby actually has a point now. Everyone has always asked why I do it? To be honest I can’t really give an answer that makes people go “wow that is so true”. I do it because I like doing it. I take the photos for me, not really for anyone else. If other people get to enjoy it, great. But this kind of makes me feel special that other people do enjoy my photos, that maybe I am not doing this just for myself but for all the other Avgeeks out there.

This isn’t a “hey i just won $1000 travel voucher” kind of big head post but more of a “hey, I didn’t really realise until now that other people enjoy what I do”. If other people in the world can enjoy my photos, and who knows maybe some of my photos are plastered all up over peoples offices or something, then that makes me feel special because I know that my hobby is more than just a time waster, it is a real hobby. So to all of those Avgeeks out there who wonder if it is worth it, I say to you. It sure is!

LAX Spotting

Last Saturday was awesome for the spotting. I got some amazing shots that I am really happy with. Apart from the car issues it was a good time with friends. But this is what you really want right?

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My first shot of a jetblue Mint A321 in the wild.

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The same for American.

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A British Airways A380

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Continuing the all Airbus Post with a Hawaiian A330.

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Finishing off the Airbus run with the Emirates A380.

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Starting off the Boeing side with some freighter action. ABX Air 767 with a DHL nose.

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Lufthansa 747-8I

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Transaero 767-300ER heading back to Russia.

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Etihad 777-200LR heading back on the long flight to the middle east.

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Southwest’s New Mexico One.

But the piece d’resistance Hello Kitty Sanrio Family arriving from Taipei.

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SeaFair…. Little bit different this year

With SeaFair last weekend (and I only just managed to get through the 2000 or so photos taken last week so yeah this is a bit late) it was a big weekend for a plane spotter. I was planning on heading out on both the Saturday and the Sunday. I wanted at least one day at Boeing Field for the take off & landing shows etc that are conducted by the aircraft and the second day, somewhere by the lake. I had done a lot of planning to head out onto the I-90 bridge high rises this year, but that never happened.

Saturday went pretty damn good, ok well it went pretty good, there were certainly moments that I did not see coming. Heidi was with me most of the day and we had a blast. We spent a bit of the morning at the Museum of Flight, checking out the Marine Corp equipment spread around. Heidi actually enjoyed herself more than I expected, so that was a huge suprise. I know she was looking for plenty of men in uniform, and she certainly got that wish… but no dress uniforms… thankfully. Wierdest moment of the day happened while looking over the Osprey we had just about to walk over to get a bit closer when all of a sudden the skies opened. The rain started pouring down, so we took shelter under the wing, along with a couple of the crew of the aircraft. They joked that the Osprey comes with it’s own rain prevention system (aka… the wing) and when it started coming down harder, we fled to the inside of the aircraft. About a minute or so after getting in out of the rain, it began to hail. My first thought was OMG THE TRUCK!, but then it was more.. WHAT THE HELL IT IS HAILING! A freak storm had come out of no where and the aircraft was getting pelted with small pieces of hail.

After some time at the Museum of Flight we headed around to the far side of the airport, onto the Boeing Access Road (that’s the actual street name, not a private road, we weren’t breaking any laws :P) and parked along the fence line. Thanks to having a truck I could get up above the fence height without needing a ladder or having to try and scramble over people. We could also sit out in the sun and enjoy the day (since it wasn’t all that bad), although that would later turn out to be my downfall. I got heaps of great shots as the Patriots came and went, the Marines all started to wait, then just as the last of them started to head out… another freak hail storm hit. Right as the Hornets got clearance for take off, it came out of no where dumping hail everywhere… take a look for yourself. Here they are just prior to clearance:

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Then moments later

From Seattle Spotting 2014

I was up there for as long as I could, and got a little bit drenched. At first I didn’t know it was hail and was more worried about all the windows of the truck being open. Didn’t end up needing to worry that much as by the time I got into the truck, it was well and truly finished. Back outside I went! After all was said and done I wasn’t that badly burnt and had a metric butt load of photos (ok around 1200 or so) but by the end of the day I was totally wrecked. I had been up since around 530am since I was at MoF really early to get some photo work done for the blog when no one was around. I woke up the Sunday morning with no energy at all!! I could barely move so I ended up staying around the house. I had dehydrated myself pretty badly it seemed (I didn’t think so at the time) so I just stayed home. I ended up missing out on a second day by the lake, but I did manage to get a lot of photos already processed (well at least the ones I took early last week)

Right now there is one thing I know you really want…. photos! So take a look here but you can find the rest at my main photo folder on Picasa

From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014

Tuesday Afternoon Spotting… not something I usually do

Last week I was invited to watch as the United States Marine Corp came and “invaded” the Museum of Flight. They were coming in to set up for Marine Week in Seattle, and I got the opportunity to hang out with fellow Avgeeks at the Museum of flight. Watching as the Marines rolled in was great (especially when the Abrams got fired up to roll off its trailer) but for me, it was the spotting. I took a few hours off work in the early afternoon and headed over to Boeing Field early. I got to enjoy my lunch in the car park, jumping in and out of the back of the truck wearing work clothes (not that easy… trust me). But I know what you want..

From Seattle Spotting 2014

United States Marine Corp – MV-22 Osprey

From Seattle Spotting 2014

United States Marine Corp – AV-8B Harrier

From Seattle Spotting 2014

UPS – Boeing 767-300ERF

From Seattle Spotting 2014

United States Navy – C-40A Clipper

From Seattle Spotting 2014

United States Marine Corp – AV-8B Harrier

From Seattle Spotting 2014

United States Marine Corp – AV-8B Harrier

From Seattle Spotting 2014

United States Marine Corp – MV-22 Osprey

From Seattle Spotting 2014

United States Marine Corp – KC-130H Hercules Tanker

5 of 6 787-9s

Yesterday I managed to add the 4th of 5 flying 787-9s that are out and about in Seattle and around the world (only 1 has been delivered to Air New Zealand). So here they are:

#1: ZB001 – Boeing Test Flights (going to Air New Zealand Eventually)

From Seattle Spotting 2014

#2: ZB002 – Boeing Test Flights (going to Air New Zealand eventually)

From Seattle Spotting 2013

#3: ZB789 – Don’t have this one yet, but it will go to JAL (next on my hunt list)

#4: ZB197 – All Nippon Airways

From Seattle Spotting 2014

#5: ZB167 – United

From Seattle Spotting 2014

#6: ZB003 – Air New Zealand – ZK-NZE – All Blacks Livery (Already Delivered)

From Seattle Spotting 2014