Category Archives: Video


Another quick, impromptu test of what the iPhone 13 will do. I was out in the yard, catching up on some cleanup work and I had been hearing the hawks for a few minutes. Just like the soundtrack of the establishing shot in every Western movie ever made…

I heard them getting closer, so pulled the phone out, put it in video mode and started recording. No tripod, no instructions, just let’s see what happens. Here’s a 10-second shot that I edited out, when the pair was right overhead and maybe 300-400 feet up.

The sound isn’t overwhelming, but turn it up and watch it in full screen mode. Right around the four-second mark, when the second hawk flys in from the top, you can hear them calling.

It doesn’t suck for a five minute break from yard work.

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Filed under Birds, Video


Sort of out of nowhere today the weather kicked up over the Catalina Channel to our south and a series of fairly good sized thunderstorm cells started drifting north over the Los Angeles basin. We don’t get that sort of weather often, maybe once every couple of years at best, and often even when we do, the storms tend to drift inland into Riverside and San Bernardino Counties and miss us over here at the far west end of Los Angeles County.

Not today.

It’s no secret that I absolutely ❤ LOVE ❤ rain and thunderstorms. So when they started coming in, I grabbed a whole slew of cameras and gear over the evening to take pictures of the clouds (some fantastic pictures of mammatus clouds right over head), to listen to the rain, wind, and thunder, and to try to catch lightning strikes on video.

Eventually about 20:30 there was a good sized cell sitting just to our south.

(Image from NOAA High-Def Weather Radar app)

Sitting out in the back yard, listening to the rain pounding on the back porch roof and the howling of the wind, seeing the flashes of lightning, this (long-ish, 4:31 total) clip ends (at 3:36) with a HUGE boomer. That was a good one!

A little later things had fired up again and a couple of big thunder boomers had rattled the house, so I took my iPhone out into the front. Another cell was coming in south of Calabasas, so I started recording. It was raining pretty hard, so I stayed on the porch, but then I couldn’t see the sky real well, so I decided to walk down to the garage door, figuring I could lean against the garage and stay pretty much out of the rain, but still have a good view of the sky. Just as I got there, at about 0:55 in this clip, and turned around… (I urge caution if you’re listening with headphones or earbuds or have the volume turned up!!)


How I managed to not clear out the deepest darkest corner of my obscenity directory, I’ll never know. How I managed to not come in with brown jeans when I went out with blue jeans, I’ll never know.

Curious, once I got my heart rate back down into double digits, while editing the video I checked a few figures on the timeline.

The frame where the bolt struck, at 1:02977 seconds.

The frame where the sound hit, at 1.04070 seconds.

That’s an elapsed time of 1.093 seconds. With the speed of sound being 1100 feet per second, that means that the bolt hit somewhere down the street 1,202 feet away.

That’s a really high “pucker factor.”

Furthermore, look at the soundtrack magnified way, way up:

About 1/20 second before the sound hit, there’s this.

An extremely vivid part of my memory of the event is that the incredibly bright flash hit, but in that 1.093 seconds between the strike and the sound I very distinctly heard a frying or sizzling noise, almost like someone on the roof right above me had a big sheet of cellophane and was crumbling it up into a ball. I think this is that sound. Why I would hear it separate from the “BOOOOOOM!” and every so slightly earlier, I don’t know.

Looking at the map shows more waves of showers building to the south and headed our way…

…with more behind that.

It could be a VERY long night!

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Filed under Photography, Video, Weather

It Was A Good Night To Go To Space

SpaceX launched it first Falcon 9 in quite a while out of Vandenberg tonight. Vandenberg’s about 125 miles to the northwest from where I am in Los Angeles, up on the Central California Coast.

There have been some FREAKIN’ SPECTACULAR launches out of Vandyland as seen from LA, particularly when they happen just after sunset and the huge clouds of gas from the rocket catch the fading sunlight…

Tonight’s launch was a little bit later than sunset, so it wasn’t clear what we would see. But what the heck, eh? Let’s get out one of the good video cameras instead of the iPhone, set it up on a tripod…

The audio you hear from SpaceX’s launch webcast is lagging by about 30 seconds behind what’s really happening. So you see the rocket start to come over the horizon behind the mountains to our west and climb toward main engine cut off (MECO). There are a couple of spots where you see it “blank out” for half a second – that’s it going behind the palm trees across the street.

While this video stops after MECO, with binoculars I could watch the second stage go all the way to the southern horizon, by which time it was well to the south of us, probably way down off of Baja.

Next, it’s time to go see a launch. The ULA and NOAA are launching an Atlas V with Landsat 9 soon – it was supposed to be September 12th (good thing it moved back, I’m still swamped), then September 16th (still swamped), and now NET (No Earlier Than) September 23rd (I won’t be swamped!). We’ll see if I can sneak away for a day. That will be even MORE spectacular.

I’ll probably tell you about it if/when it happens…

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Filed under Space, Video

Wings Over Camarillo 2021 – Day Two

Today, before it got too busy and crazed for me, I went and visited the STEM Pavilion being hosted in one of our hangars.

There were a lot of neat things going on. Needless to say, I would have killed to have things like this to do when I was ten or fifteen years old!

DRONES?! They will let me play with drones? Well, actually no. They’re more than happy to let kids play with drones. Adults, who presumably have their own disposable income as well as the ability to manage their own lives, are not allowed. 😫 No matter how big the temper tantrum.

Again while it was calm, before the crowds got there (and we had a nice sized crowd again today) I got up close and personal with another favorite of mine, the P-38 Lightning.

Have I ever told the story of my flight training on the way to John Wayne / Santa Ana airport… No, I don’t think I did. I’ll put that one on the list.

The obligatory picture of two of the CAF SoCal aircraft, our Zero and our Hellcat.

And a quick, cellphone picture of yesterday’s favorite, the Corsair, in flight. Most of today I was shooting cell phone and video with the good video camera. Busy, busy day for the finance dude, a.k.a., me.

Speaking of video, here’s how the show ended for the weekend. We had a fair amount of “pyro” late in the show and I hadn’t seen any of it yesterday being busy, and almost missed everything today. But I made sure to get out for the big “wall of fire” finale just as the show closed.

Sweet! Nothing and nobody got bent or broken, the crowds were good, the beer, PX, and ride sales were excellent, and we look forward to seeing everyone next year. Or you can come out and see us at the museum on any open day (see our website to check the current schedule, we’re not open every day but are gradually ramping up as we recover from the COVID lockdowns) or book a ride for another time.

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Filed under Airshows, CAF, Photography, Video

Wings Over Camarillo 2021 – Day One

Wow, that was a long day…

I had figured the show could go either way in terms of crowd size, and relatedly, the financial success or failure for both the Camarillo Wings Association and all of the different sponsors, including the CAF SoCal Wing. First, we could have a huge crowd because all of the airshows for the last 18 months have been canceled along with a HUGE chunk of everything else, so folks will be desperate to attend a relatively safe, outdoor event with minimal close contact with strangers. OR, folks would still be really nervous about the resurgence of the COVID Delta variant and it would be something of a ghost town.

The air show fans of SoCal voted with their dollars – today at least had the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at a Camarillo air show.

In between my duties as the CAF SoCal Finance Officer (so I was hoppin’ all day!) I managed to capture a few pictures to share. (Huh! Go figure!)

Out in front before the gates opened there was a long line of fighters and warbirds. You’ve seen pictures of the CAF SoCal planes dozens of time on this page (search for the “CAF” category tag) so I was drooling over this gorgeous Corsair. A favorite plane (ever watch “Ba Ba Black Sheep”?) we don’t have one (yet) so I don’t get to see one up close or flying that often.

There were military aircraft on static display, but not nearly as many as most years. This AWACS, a couple of helicopters, and that was about it. In particular no huge cargo plane like a C-17, C-5, or even a C-130. They said something during the show about them being “in use overseas,” so I wonder if all of a sudden they’re all busy over in the Afghanistan evacuations.

Lots of old bi-planes and privately owned warbirds, particularly a lot of trainers like PT-19s, Stearmans, and T-34s. This 1929 Travel Air D-4-D was particularly gorgeous.

Usually the fast military fighters close the show, but today they started. It might have been to wake everyone up (like, everyone between Encino and Santa Barbara!!) or it might have been because of the cloud cover that hadn’t lifted quite yet. Either way, it definitely made an impression on the crowd, as well as every car with an alarm for blocks around.

You’ve seen this MIG before, it’s owned by our CAF SoCal Wing Leader, Jason Somes. But I’m not sure I’ve shown it to you in flight yet. Here you go!

Should you happen to be in SoCal and not have other plans for tomorrow, we’ll do it all over again. Gates open at 9:00. If you make it out, swing by the CAF ramp to see our planes, the STEM Pavilion in our hangars, the Beer & Margarita Garden in our other hangars, and maybe even ask someone where I am. Say howdy!

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Filed under Airshows, CAF, Photography, Video

Wings Over Camarillo 2021 – Arrival Day

This site has a metric ton of pictures from previous years’ Wings Over Camarillo airshows – just “Search.” Last year we didn’t have a show due to COVID-19. For the longest time I didn’t think we would have one this year, but sort of at the last minute (meaning four or five months ago, instead of the usual 9-12 months of planning and preparation) they decided to go for it and have it anyway. We’ll see how that works out…

The CAF SoCal Wing is one of the big sponsors and participants of the WOC show, so naturally we’re throwing everything we can at it. Again, given that we’re just coming out of 18 months of shutdown, including pickling all of our aircraft to preserve them while they’re not flying, and then working frantically for the past month or so to un-pickle them, this has been hectic. There are a few things that we normally do which we didn’t have the time or staff to do this year (lots of our docents and members are still staying away due to COVID and the Delta variant, which is 100% understandable) but hopefully it won’t be too many things that folks will be disappointed to do without.

The big question will be how many people will show up? We’ll know tomorrow.

Meanwhile, today I was out at the hangar getting all of the finance stuff prepped. It was also “arrival day,” when most of the planes from other airports fly in and get positioned.

I took a few quick photos. (Hey, the Chiefs were playing their Week Two pre-season game at 17:00 – priorities!)

Our ramp is littered with aircraft – a good thing! How many can you identify? (Click to see the full sized photo.)

These speakers are set up along the flight line about every 50 feet – I keep hearing the M*A*S*H announcer’s voice – “Attention. Attention. All personnel. Our movie tonight will be ‘My Darling, Clementine’ in the mess tent at Oh Nineteen Hundred hours…”

Jason’s MIG, one of our SNJ’s, and China Doll. Off in the distance, tents and booths as far as the eye can see…

And a video of a fast mover:

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Filed under Airshows, CAF, Panorama, Photography, Video

War Zone

The Fourth of July. Last year’s celebration were muted, at best, due to COVID. This year we have to celebrate (I guess?) extra hard, first to make up for last year, second because we survived. There might be a few other things to celebrate this year as well, like the fact that we still have a country.

Anyway, despite the fact that we’re in a severe drought, it’s dry as a bone, it’s been hot as hell, and all of these fireworks are illegal as hell – it was a freakin’ war zone out there for two or three hours. Still some going off now after 23:00.

Here’s what a small sample looks like.

Here’s what a small sample (different sample than the one shown above, to be clear) sounded like.

And here’s what the finale from the Warner Center show (or possibly the Pierce College show) looked like, the iPhone flipping in and out of focus, from about six miles away.

Happy Birthday, America.

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Filed under Fireworks, Video

Cackling Raven

I’m sure there are actual official names for the sounds that this raven is making, but I don’t know them, so I’m going to go with “cackling.”

He was probably 40-50 feet overhead and just sounding off in all of his glory. Of course, so were the wind, the lawnmowers (tomorrow is trash day, so most of the gardeners are out in front of it), the motorcycles, the planes overhead…

I think you can still hear him, sounds a lot like some exotic percussion instrument from South America, clacking and clicking his staccato clattering. (Although the compression that YouTube uses might have wiped out some of the finer audio details.) In particular, at about the 16-20 second marks it comes through, and again just before the end at about 0:26.

I hope you can hear him!

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Filed under Critters, Photography, Video

Red Winged Blackbirds

We see them here, but not up by the house, although I can hear them sometimes. There’s a marshy area down at the bottom of the hill, about a quarter mile as the crow flies, a catch basin where a stream comes out of Bell Canyon behind Castle Peak and turns into what will become the Los Angeles River in a mile or so after it joins up with a couple other streams. It’s right across the street from the baseball and soccer fields and we always heard them there when the kids were playing.

In the last week they’ve returned to the Sapsucker Woods location where the Cornell Lab FeederWatch Cam is set up. I hadn’t seen any for the first two or three months I had been watching the feed (i.e., the depths of winter) but there are quite a few of them there now. In addition to the ones that you see at the feeder, sometimes four or five at a time, you can hear them sounding off in the background almost constantly.

(Video from Cornell Lab FeederWatch Cam at Sapsucker Woods)

It’s an extremely calming noise, harkening back to time spent relaxing or exploring while camping or hiking.

Next thing to watch for – when will the ice break on Sapsucker Woods Pond?


Filed under Critters, Video

Someone Hates Rainbows – Or He Hates Me

My money’s on me…

Just after the rainbow pictures from yesterday, I noticed a woodpecker out in the neighbor’s tree, then in ours. I was trying (with marginal success) to get some pictures and in the process suddenly noticed that someone was LOUD and appeared to be seriously pissed off with me (sound up!) –

The way he started circling made it clear to me that he didn’t like me being in the yard – what have I ever done to him?

The video stops when I shut down the iPhone to try to get some pictures of him with the good camera in the other hand. He kept squawking at me for another 10 or 15 seconds, but as soon as I brought up the camera with the telephoto lens, he was outta there!

Crows can be very smart – I wonder if he saw the device with the big snout pointed at him (my camera, not my face…wiseass) and thought that it might be a weapon. Unless he stops by again to yell at me and deigns to chat, I guess we’ll never know.

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Filed under Critters, Video