Thursday, October 31, 2019

Shadow Arch

The Santa Ana winds, sometimes called the Diablo winds, are still raging in California, and we are still battling wildfires. When the Santa Ana's blow, Raymond Chandler famously wrote "every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks." Yikes!! I don't think anyone ever thought we could have a wildfire year as bad as last year, but now we're not so sure. And yes, everyone is on edge. As the helicopters were flying overhead during the World Series game last night, fighting a fire only about two miles from our house, I wondered if we should start packing in case of mandatory evacuations. Fortunately, it didn't come to that, and the fire has been contained. My granddaughter (and also our chihuahua) were frighted by the loud helicopters overhead... going back and forth over our house to drop water on the fire. She said "Papa, I don't like wind any more." I think that about sums it up.

But on to happier thoughts, and a trip out to the desert. I posted some photos recently of the Milky Way over Shadow Arch. That was my second hike out to Shadow Arch, and it made me wonder about my first hike (back in 11/2018) and what photos I posted. Guess what? There is no post!! Somehow all the photos from that hike slipped through the cracks, and that was a great hike with a ton of photos. Sooooooo... here's some photos from that first hike, when I initially "discovered" Shadow Arch.
I started my hike here. People who have been hiking this area a long time can tell you stories about when they used to drive this road to the base of the Coxcomb Mountains (in the background) to hike up to the peaks. At some point, it became designated wilderness area, which means there can be no roads, no trails, no motorized vehicles of any kind. Basically, there should be no trace of human impact, unless from long ago. And that's why I love this area. No one out here, and I usually don't even see footprints. You feel like you are seeing everything for the first time!

My first view of Shadow Arch. This is looking to the south. I was just so happy to find this arch. I spotted a round shadow on Google Maps and figured there had to be an arch here (hence the name).

The above three photos are shots of the arch from the other side (looking north). The Sheephole Mountains make a nice backdrop.

This area is full of interesting alcoves. Look at the large one in the middle of the photo above. I didn't climb down to it because it looked like it would be impossible to climb up to, and I still have a lot of ground to cover on this hike. Keep repeating... mustn't get sidetracked, mustn't get sidetracked....

Unusual rock formations.

This alcove looks cool. Ya, I got sidetracked, but just briefly. I wasn't able to climb up from below, but I could drop down from the top. Let's see what it looks like from the inside.

Nice!! Deep and spacious with a small port hole on one side. No signs of rock art or habitation, but I'm always looking!

Reminds me of a stick ball game... hit the ball in the hole, except the "ball" is at least 3' in diameter and probably over 1000 lbs!

Fast forward to the end of my hike (I'll come back to some of the other photos on a future post). The sun has set and the sky is showing those beautiful desert colors...

And just for comparison, below is Shadow Arch at night, under the Milky Way. You might remember this shot from a few weeks ago.

And finally, the hike back to the car. Getting dark, but I've hiked this area enough that I'm not worried about getting turned around.
If you look really really hard, you might notice a small dot of light just below the horizon. That's a car headlight on a lonesome stretch of Highway 62.

Linking with Skywatch Friday.
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have a Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Tahitian Honeymoon

It's been a crazy, wonderful week. My son was married on Saturday, then Sunday night jetted off with his new bride to Tahiti for their honeymoon. It's a place I've long dreamed of visiting but never have. And given the length and expense of the flight, not sure I ever will. But very pleased and happy for my son and my new daughter-in-law! After seeing a few photos from the last couple days, I couldn't resist sharing. In my opinion, these are some of the most beautiful skies you will ever see (all photos taken by my son and daughter-in-law)!
Paddle boarding in paradise!

Over-water accommodations!

Under water celebration!

Ahhh.... we can all dream. Maybe someday 😎
In the meantime, congratulation to my son and his new bride! What a beautiful place to celebrate!!

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

More Photos from the Airshow

I just couldn't resist sharing some additional photos from the Great Pacific Airshow in Huntington Beach, CA, that took place a couple weekends ago. These were taken during the second half of the show and are some of my favorites. Enjoy!

The corkscrew!

Last shot of the day!

As we were walking back to the car after a fun day at the airshow, the golden light over the ocean caught my eye. Then I noticed the lifeguard closing up the tower for the day and taking down the flag.

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Great Pacific Airshow

A friend of ours invited us down to her place to watch the airshow this last weekend. She lives right on the water next to the Huntington Beach pier. It's like having front row seats and VIP parking... how could we say no!!?

It crossed my mind it would be a great opportunity for skywatch photography, so I took my camera and "big" lens (100-400mm telephoto). I hadn't been to an airshow in years, and this sounded like fun since it was right on the beach.
A lot of other people had the exact same idea! These folks were up on the pier trying to get the best shots possible.

But by far the most common camera at the air show was the cell phone. This couple seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves.

The turnout was excellent, with open spots on the sand being at a premium.

The planes were buzzing around all over the place, and every kind of plane imaginable. Most of the planes were extremely fast, and early on I was getting frustrated because it's very hard to capture a fast plane at just the right moment in time. A lot of my early shots looked something like this:

This very short video clip will give you a sense of how quickly the jets fly overhead. Often times, you don't hear them coming. And by the time you hear them, they are already gone! And wow are they LOUD!! A highlight of the day was when everyone was watching a group of planes on the horizon when all of a sudden a fighter jet went on a strafing run directly over the crowd. No one saw it coming, and it was so loud it literally shook the ground. It scared the heck out of me, and poor little Lilly was speechless and shocked!
US Air Force F-35 Lightning II - Loud and Fast!!

The lifeguard towers were staffed, and it felt exactly like a summer day at the beach, with temperatures on the sand close to 80 degrees. The yellow sign with the black ball means no surfing. Normally, there would be people surfing on both sides of the pier, but they weren't allowing it during the air show.

Eventually I got things dialed in and started getting some decent shots. On the left, you can see spray coming off the fire boat that was on display for the show.

The largest fire boat on the West Coast is an impressive sight. It provides 41,000 gallons per minute. The reach of the water stream is 600 feet. The height of the stream is nearly 20 stories high! The view of the boat is partially blocked by water spray and smoke from planes, but fun to see!

This little stunt plane was fun to watch. In this last photo, it looks like he's "shooting the pier"!

Lucky shot!

The next six photos are in sequence:
Coming in on the right... Upside down!!

Still coming in... Upside down!

Uh oh!!!!!!!

Oh no!!!!!!!!!! From this angle, looks like a mid-air crash.

Here's a close-up... It looks like they miss each other by just inches!!

Everyone at the show breathed a sigh of relief!!

One of my favorite shots. No editing done on this image, other than a slight crop.
Absolutely amazing!!

Precision formation flying!

Some impressive skywriting!!

Oh, and Lilly (as she plugs her ears to block out the jet sounds) says "Hi"!

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