Photography . . . Travel . . .

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Very Short Trip to Seattle - With a Night at the Arctic Club Hotel

Heather and I returned to Seattle last weekend, but this was a rather short trip.  Not counting time going to and from the airport, we were there all of about 24 hours.  We stayed at our favorite hotel - the Arctic Club Doubletree in downtown.

This is the hotel with the walrus theme (including some amazing carved walruses in the stonework around the 3rd floor exterior of the building).  

There is also a walrus in every guestroom.

The Arctic Club is a particularly nice place to hang out when it's cold outside - which it was last weekend (at least by my standards).  The building was finished in 1917, and still has the feel of an old club. 

I shot this next one on Sunday morning when the Polar Bar was empty.  On Saturday night it was hopping, with both a wedding and a private party going on, plus a few people just wandering in.

We stepped out the door of the hotel on Saturday night on our way to dinner, and saw the partial moon rising near the Smith Tower across the street.

No trip to Seattle would be complete without some really good coffee - in this case a double espresso to go with my almond croissant at Il Fornaio.

We had a nice dinner at Chinook's at the Fisherman's Terminal.

One more cup of coffee on Sunday morning, and it was time to head home.

I wound up in a window seat on the left (driver's) side of the aircraft.  As we descended into San Diego I had a great view of the north San Diego County coastline, and right about the time the flight attendants were telling everyone to put all their electronic devices away I caught a glimpse of the shadow of our aircraft on the clouds below us.  By the time I got my camera out (trying not to let the flight attendants see me) the clouds were breaking up, but I still caught part of it.  You have to look closely, but it's there - surrounded by a circular rainbow of sorts in the cloud.

Click here to see a few more images from Saturday and Sunday, October 20-21, 2012 in Seattle and from the plane on the way home.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Miramar Air Show 2012 - US Navy Blue Angels

The last performance of the day at the Miramar Air Show is always the Blue Angels. It's the one everyone waits for. Here are some images from both Friday and Saturday at the 2012 show.

The performance always starts out with Fat Albert showing the short-field capabilities of this C-130 aircraft. It's impressive to watch, but not quite as impressive as it used to be when they had the JATO rockets on the side of the plane to give it an extra boost on takeoff. They mentioned at last year's air show that the rockets are no longer available.

The 2 shots above were taken on Friday. There were no clouds on Saturday, but when I got home and looked at this next image closely on the monitor I noticed something I've not seen before - what looks like little vapor trails coming off the tips of the propellors.

Time to start the show - here's Capt. Greg McWherter, USN, the Flight Leader and Commanding Officer of the Blue Angels, saluting as he taxis for takeoff.

Four of the six aircraft take off in formation.

They go out, make a quick u-turn, and head back to the airfield.

They call these two planes the opposing solos. It seems like they're always flying right towards each other.

The planes land, concluding the Blue Angels flight and closing out the show for the day at the 2012 Miramar Air Show.

Click here to more images of the US Navy Blue Angels at the 2012 MCAS Miramar Air Show.

Miramar Air Show 2012 - F/A-22 Raptor and P-51 Heritage Flight

New this year at the Miramar Air Show 2012 was the USAF F/A-22 Raptor - and it was pretty much the star of the show. In addition to the (mostly) high-speed tactical demonstration, they also did a heritage flight alongside a P-51 Mustang.

Here's a view of the Raptor with its weapons bays open.

By the way, I have not changed the angle (or tilted my camera) on any of these or the other air show photos. If you see an aircraft heading straight up (or down) that really is the direction it's traveling relative to the ground.

Not only can this aircraft fly incredibly fast, it can also fly at relatively slow speeds - in this case pacing a P-51 Mustang for the Heritage Flight.

Time to break off and head back for a landing.

Click here to see more images of the USAF F/A-22 Raptor at the 2012 MCAS Miramar Air Show.

Miramar Air Show 2012 - F/A-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier

Here are some shots from the F/A-18 Hornet demonstration at the 2012 MCAS Miramar Air Show.

In addition to the vapor trails coming off the wings and fuselage, you can also see the heat mirage from the engines behind the aircraft. In some shots if you look closely you can see it tracing the arc that the plane was traveling.

The combination of fluffy clouds and patches of blue sky made from some great backgrounds.

At one point in the demonstration they do a low-level high-speed pass at just under the speed of sound (Mach 1). They always tell everyone in advance to "get their cameras ready", but that plane is really moving fast. Just as the aircraft gets to the edge of Mach 1 the vapor trail forms a donut around the back of the plane. This is the first time I've caught the whole thing.

Almost there.

Just under Mach 1. They don't want to blow out any windows or set off all the car alarms in the area.

Another fun demonstration to watch is the AV-8B Harrier. This has to be one of the loudest planes at the air show - and it's truly amazing to see.

Here's a sequence showing a vertical take-off.

Click here to see more images from the F/A-18 Hornet demonstration at the 2012 Miramar Air Show.
Click here to see a few more images from the AV-8B Harrier demonstration at the 2012 Miramar Air Show.

About Me

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San Diego, California, United States
About me . . . When I'm not working I like to be out exploring and photographing. I do this blog just for fun, and to be able to share these images with friends. I hope you enjoy viewing these images as much as I enjoyed creating them.

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All of the content and images on this site (c) Frank B. Baiamonte. If you would like to use any of these images please contact me via email at to discuss terms of usage. Note that images from the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are not available for commercial usage. You can also see more on my Instagram page @frankbaiamonte.

Header image: Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Cibola, Arizona. End image: Downtown San Diego, California skyline from Coronado Island. Profile picture: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, by Heather Baiamonte.