A Different View of Mt. Rainier

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Mt. Rainier through the HUD on a B737-800
In 2002, I was fortunate to be flying as a Captain on a Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-800 which was one of the first airliners to have a “heads up display” (HUD) for the Captain. This HUD is a piece of glass that hangs in front of the pilot, near the windshield, and displays all of the necessary flight data, including altitude, airspeed, heading.  The beauty of this system is that it allows the pilot to fly the airplane much more precisely than with previous instrument systems.  Plus, he can do that all while continuing to look out the front windscreen.
This image shows Mt Rainier, in Washington state, not long after take-off from Seattle. The HUD shows that we were climbing through 10,980 feet at a true airspeed of 311 knots and a heading of about 118 degrees. The small double circle with the wings sticking out each side shows that our current flight path will take us above and to the right of the mountain’s peak. Of course, we will turn back on course before we get too close to the mountain.

I made this image with my first digital camera, the Canon D30.

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Transition

Ducks seem to be equally at home either in the air or in the water. But, the transition can be difficult.

Air to water doesn’t look too bad as long as the water is relatively smooth and they can make a nice landing.

However, trying to get airborne from the water is a totally different story. They literally have to “walk on the water” for several steps as their wings beat furiously until they can build up enough speed to liftoff and “Slip the Surly Bonds of Earth”.*

(*From the poem, High Flight by John Gillespie Magee,  Jr.)

Originally published on Feb. 5, 2012.

Luck

There’s a common saying that “Luck equals preparation plus opportunity.” I believe that.

Monument Valley in Arizona has some spectacular monolithic rock outcroppings and it’s best to be there at first light. I was there at dawn that day and got some nice photos of those big rocks they call “The Mittens”, but they were much like those taken by so many other photographers – nothing new.

A bit later in the morning after the sun was well up, I was driving through the park looking for more photo possibilities. I felt very lucky when I saw this hot air balloon just filling and getting ready for lift off.

I skidded to a stop, jumped out of my car and managed to fire off several shots as that colorful balloon slowly and majestically ascended right next to those huge rock formations. Wow, what a sight, but I’m sure the view was even better from inside the gondola as it soared over the valley.

Yes, I was lucky because I had a good camera that I knew how to use and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time (opportunity).

Many fine images are created by dedicated photographers who see a good location, have a creative idea, and then go there time after time until conditions enable them to execute that idea. But, many great images are a result of happenstance…just being there when it happens.

So prepare yourself, get out there, and get lucky!

Having Options

I’m always a bit nervous when I’m in the car while my wife drives … I have to be REALLY tired to sleep. 🙂 And I shouldn’t be that way because she really is an excellent driver (well, mostly).

Today, I was looking at my computer keyboard and it occurred to me why I might be like that. I flew airplanes for 33 years and for about half that time, I was the guy in charge. Many times in the Air Force, I would be the leader of a flight of four F-4’s. Then, with Delta, I was the Captain for the last 12 years. I made the decisions.

So the keyboard made me think, “Having options is a function of being in command, i.e. in control of your situation.”

So, “Honey”, please don’t get mad – it’s just a lifelong habit. I really do trust you . . . really. 🙂