Sunspot group 1261 has had a busy week unleashing at least 3 M-class solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) toward the Earth last week. While still year from solar max, this is quite a bit of activity. I took a photo of the sun and sunspot group 1261 from my deck last week:
I noticed that a few of the backyard birds were using a small puddle by a sprinkler head as a bath. I'd scare them away as I walked by. So I rigged up the iPhone and fired up "Snaps" the motion detection app and captured a few birds bathing today:
This summer I hope to pepper several of the months with hikes in order to condition myself and C for the big 4 day Enchantments hike. Today, almost last minute, we thought we would head off to Boulder River Falls, a nice forested hike. I packed my bag at about 75% my full trek weight and C's at 10lbs. We headed off to the trailhead at 12:30pm, the latest I've ever left for a hike before!
We arrived at the turnoff for the trailhead off Highway 530, less than a quarter mile in, the road was blocked by a tree. Damn. It was not that big of a tree, but it was a solid fall and wasn't going anywhere. A number of people had parked and apparently hoofed it the 3 miles in to the real trailhead, but I figured we could find another nearby trail, as the Darrington area had plenty.
The culmination of my Air2Air Photography class at the Historic Flight Foundation was flying in the HFF's B-25 Mitchell, taking air to air photographs of either their F7F Tigercat or their P-51B Mustang. The Tigercat flight takes place over the Puget Sound to mimic the South Pacific theater, and the Mustang flight over the Cascades to replicate the European Alps. had registered for the P-51 flight as I thought there would be more dynamics to shooting the Mustang with mountains behind.
In the weeks before my flight, I was getting increasingly nervous about the entire event. Approaching this as a once-in-a-lifetime event, I was taking every precaution I could think of to ensure the best possible results from my 15-30 minutes of shooting in the air. I was actually losing sleep over it, having strange equipment failure anxiety dreams!
I'm a pretty unimpulsive person. I like to approach things in a calculated manner with no surprises, however last week, that all went out the window. A close friend of ours win a week's use of a condo in Las Vegas and invited us to go, not thinking that we'd actually take them up on it. But we did! They had an entire extra suite at their disposal. The trick was that I was still had to work, and my son still had school.
The hemming and hawing of the decision had to be made by 2:30pm in order to make the last Allegiant flight out of Bellingham in time, and it was nearing 2pm. I consulted with my manager and it was allowed that I was OK to work my 8 hours from the condo in a staggered fashion. C is going well in school, so we figured we could swing it. So at 2pm Jenn clicked 'submit' on the ticket order page and we had 30 minutes to pack.
This Friday and Saturday I took part in the Historic Flight Foundations first 'Air 2 Air' photography class. The Air 2 Air class is designed to give aviation enthusiasts a chance to learn about techniques, equipment and skills needed to take part in air-to-air photography for fun and possibly profit. The course included instruction from air-to-air photographers as well as trade magazines. I had a blast in the class, but the high point of the experience takes place on June 4, when I get to fly in the HFF's B-25 bomber and shoot air-to-air photographs of their P-51 and Spitfire, or their Tigercat and Bearcat. I'm very excited, but I am also a bit apprehensive. The techniques involved are challenging, and I really have only one shot at this (it's not every day one gets to fly in a B-25 and photograph war birds in formation).