Under The Flight Path

I suspect an awful lot of “normal” folks don’t even bother to look up when a plane goes overhead, especially at 12,000 feet and climbing.

I’m not “normal.” (This should be news to just about zero of you.)

As mentioned before, we’re under a couple of the LA area flight paths. Coming out of LAX to parts on opposite sides of the planet, we get the big jets going to Asia and Europe climbing out right over us. When I was out saying hello to the juncos and the squirrels I heard the rumble of this guy, whipped out the phone, set the camera to max telephoto, and took a few shots just to see if the pictures might be decent.

(Images from FlightRadar.com app)

Well, it’s headed to Frankfurt, was at 12,030 feet as he went over, and my photo’s good enough to see the logo on the tail, so that doesn’t suck.

Of course, two seconds after I put the phone back in my pocket this guy comes tearing over, headed toward Runway 8 at Burbank. Normally we get tons of 737s going in with the occasional business jet or light plane. This nice mid-sized twin was novel, but I caught him a little bit past the overhead point. Still…

Look at that flight path! (The green line.) He’d been doing laps all over the San Fernando Valley, and it’s an FAA owned plane. I wonder what was up?

Oh, and if anyone wins a reasonably sized lottery and is just dying to spend some of that money on me, a Beech Super King Air like this one would be a wonderful surprise for Christmas! (Hint, hint…)

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Filed under Flying, Photography

No Context For You – October 26th

Wow, it’s been 25 days since I’ve had to default to one of these at about 23:30 in order to come up with a post for the day. That new iPhone has made a huge difference in this month’s posts!

I note that NaNoWriMo starts next Monday, and it is a measure of the poor state of my sanity and lack of common sense that I’ve been pondering whether to try another one. (Search this site for NaNoWriMo – I think I tried it three times and posted the daily output here every day.) It’s been a few years and I actually miss doing it.


Still lots and Lots and LOTS of deadlines at work, “challenges” popping up like whack-a-moles, trying to wrap things up as Finance Office at the hangar so that I can hand that gig over to someone else, dealing with all of the little joys of still being in a pandemic and at least partially locked down and working from home…

On what planet… In what timeline… In which version of “life” would tackling NaNoWriMo on top of all of that make ANY sense at all?

So, should I do a comedy or something serious? Science fiction of something more mundane? Third person or first person POV?

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Filed under Photography, Writing

Yes, We Actually Do That In California

It’s a common meme or urban myth about California folks, but there’s a basis in fact behind it.

Not everyone. Not everywhere in the state. But a lot of folks, in a lot of places.

Yes, rain is rare enough here so that when there’s a good, solid rain shower after a long, long drought folks do stop what they’re doing and go take videos of it and watch in awe.

On the other hand, M3.9 earthquakes barely bother to wake us up, whereas folks from Iowa or North Carolina would need new pants due to the panic.

Pick your poison.

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Filed under Video, Weather

Hanging Out Waiting For The Rain

Well, they were.

I, on the other hand, was getting gas at almost $5 a gallon.

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Filed under Birds, Photography

Big Old Planes

And puffy clouds!

Our AN-2 on the left, C-46 on the right.

It was still raining at home, 35 miles away, and the big storm is moving in tonight through late Monday.

Difference in pictures is the normal iPhone 13 lens on the top, the wide angle lens (and about ten steps forward) on the bottom.

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Filed under CAF, Photography, Weather

iPhone Sunset Panorama Surprise

Permutations. Combinations. Still playing around to see what happens.

The front edge of that desperately needed rainstorm is coming off the coast tonight for a couple days of drizzle and we hope a couple of actual bouts of rain over the next few days. I was checking out the fog and clouds rolling in and decided to combine a few settings on the new iPhone.

Panorama. 16:9 instead of 4:3. Wide angle lens.

It’s a lot more bowed, distorted, and fisheyed than I expected. (I didn’t do the whole 360º thing, cut it off early simply because I wasn’t trying to show our front door and roof, wanted to see the sky.) It almost looks like I’m standing on a corner, but all of those lines on the sidewalks and streets and power lines are straight. (Well, straight-ish. Close enough.) You’ve seen enough pictures of that view.

I’m sure that there might be times when I want to use those settings to deliberately get this effect – but this view might not be the time or place.

The “normal” panorama looks much better. Thinner. Those power lines are still bowed upward like the whole planet just went into freefall, but the warping of the street and the foreshortening of the cars is much less jarring visually.

Bring on the rain! Please?


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Filed under Panorama, Photography, Sunsets

The Juncos Are Back!

They’re back, as I had hoped for!

Last October we started seeing a dozen or so of these cute, funny little birds in our back yards, the black-headed juncos. Then in April, they vanished, being migratory – except for Solo Junco, who stayed through the summer. (I mean, going to Canada for sex is great, but so is eating steady all year round, I guess?)

Looking back, it was October when they showed up last year, so I was on the lookout. Late last week I saw three of them. A couple days ago I saw nine or ten. They hop around and scatter and flit and fly all over the yard, so sometimes they’re hard to get an exact count on, and also it makes it tough to get a group photo. But thanks to the new supercomputer & high-end camera that I carry in my pocket, this afternoon I caught at least five in a single picture, out of the eight or nine that were there at the time.

Click to enlarge – can you spot the five juncos? Don’t be fooled, there are seven birds shown. Two are members of the flock of house finches that we have here year around.

The five juncos are circled in red, the two finches in green. Also not shown (off to the side) are the mourning doves, California towhees, and squirrel. Not to mention the lizards (which, to be honest, are mostly starting to hibernate for the winter.)

Welcome back!

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Filed under Birds, Critters, Photography

iPhone 13 Macro Camera Test

(There’s a theme here the last few days. Yeah, back in “Deadline Days” and there’s not a lot of time, so as I do my “walk around the back yard for two minutes because my watch is yelling at me to step away from the desk” breaks, I’m playing with the new iPhone to see what it can do on the fly with zero prep or planning.)

I’ve heard so many good things about the iPhone 13 macro (close-up) lens – oooh, look, those flowers are blooming again!

Not bad! The camera is probably 1/2 inch or so away from the flower. How close can I get? A bee’s eye view?

Um, okay, that’s pretty amazing. Add to the list to try and play more with this with an actual tripod and planning…

I’m really liking this phone/camera, a lot!

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Filed under Flowers, Photography

iPhone 13 Sunset Surprise

a.k.a., “What Does THIS Button Do?”

So the iPhone 13 will do a nice job on sunsets. This does not surprise me a bit.

Zooming in a bit, the silhouette of the tree against those orange and peach colored clouds is extremely wonderful. It’s got a true optical 3x telephoto lens in addition to the normal lens and a wide angle lens, all available at the touch of a button.

Buttons, buttons. What’s this one? It’s new…

Oh, my! There’s a whole little submenu that pops up. I can manually control effects, exposure, flash… And image size? So these are 4:3 images, 4032 x 3024 pixels… What does 16:9 get me?

Wonderful! Compare to the first photo, both at “normal” 1x zoom levels. This is shorter & wider, 4032 x 2268 pixels, actually a few fewer than the 4:3, which surprises me, but I love the widescreen aspect ratio!

What happens if I go to the wide angle lens at a 16:9 aspect ration?

That’s a thing of beauty.

Next time I get a great sunset like this I want to remember to also grab the Canon DSLR with that amazing wide angle light bucket monster of a lens and get some side-by-side comparison images. Should be interesting, to say the least.

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Filed under Photography, Sunsets

iPhone 13 Panorama Surprise

Yesterday’s awful lot of blue did eventually include a few clouds and a bit of drizzle this morning.

(Clickenate to embiggenate!)

We would have much preferred a half-inch to an inch of steady rain every day for the next several weeks. We’re in a multi-year drought and if we don’t get some decent rain this year we might start to really be hurting. But we’ll take what we can get, I guess. You’ve got to start somewhere.

Meanwhile, after going out and testing the new phone camera on some deep blue and puffy whiteness, I noticed something exciting!

On my old iPhone 6, the panorama pictures covered about 310º, so I would have to think a bit about what 50º or so I wanted to leave out. It never occurred to me that the iPhone 13 might do better. (My bad!)

In the photo here, you’ll notice those cypress trees on the left and again on the right? They’re the same trees! The iPhone 13 panorama mode doesn’t cut off at 310º or so, it goes all the way to about 390º, MORE than a full circle!

This makes me stupidly happy, but then again, as many have noted, I am a simple creature.

Needless to say, expect more panoramas in your future.

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Filed under Panorama, Photography, Weather