Sunday, August 26, 2007

B-17 flight!

I read about the Collings Foundation display of WWII bombers in the News Journal and Mary and I decided to take Tim for a ride on the B-17. It was against our somewhat frugal nature to do it, but it was worth every cent, and tax deductible to boot! (Nice rationalization!) . Anyways, we got up there about 2:30 and hung around going through the displays of a B-24, B-25 and the Mac Daddy, B-17 until the flight at 5:30. It was interesting going through them and thinking about what it took to be an Airman or pilot going to war in the planes. Tim and I talked to two WWII veteran airmen while we were milling about. One was a p-47 pilot that did duty near the end of the war shooting up trains and transportation targets in Italy and France. The other was a B-17 Master Sgt. who talked about getting frostbite twice while on missions during his 3 year tour. Interesting folks!
We also talked to a gentleman whose father flew B-26s for 61 missions, volunteering for the second tour.

The planes clearly weren't designed for 40 something guys (or pregnant women either. A lady about 6-7 months preggers went through immediately after me. God knows how she got over the bomb bay catwalk!) to get around, but I managed to get through it. Walking on the catwalk through the bomb bays was cool, especially after seeing war movies of guys doing stuff up there with open doors.

Tim was in the waist gunner position on the B- 24. It was a tight fit getting into the back of the aircraft to get to this position.

The B-17 with engines warming up.

No, Tim wasn't going for the Eddie Munster look, we were boarding the B-17 before take off, in the prop wash from two 1200 horsepower engines. Yeah, it was awesome!

Inside the aircraft. I don't know if the seats were original equipment or not, but we were seated every other person, no windows to look out in the back where we were. We could look sort of up and out through the plexiglass windows where the waist guns were mounted. The gunners must have done a sort of dance to get around each other in the heat of action.

As soon as we were airborne, we were allowed to move about the aircraft. We made our way forward, over the bomb bay to the pilots compartment, then under that to get to the bombardiers position. That was the best seat in the house! It was amazing looking through the dome down. There was room for 4 of us to hang out and wait a chance to sit in the seat and take it all in. Awesome! It was pretty cool looking through the upper turrent over the top of the airplane. I'm betting it wasn't as much fun when your life depended on it!

Tim exiting the plane at the end of the ride.

My advice: Go for a ride on one or more of these guys if you get the chance!

Morning Glories!

Its all about color! We saw these the other morning, taking Tim to school. I got up at the crack of dawn (well, 7:45= COD for me!) and went back for these shots.
Tim and I are psyched for later today. Three WWII vintage bombers are going to be at New Castle Air Port and we're going to be flying in a B-17 this evening! Yeah, the camera is coming along!
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More from the Park

I saw these along the trail in the earlier post. The forest looked so primitive. Ferns always make me think about pre-cambrian conditions... and indicate to me a rather untrampled area. I like them. I have a hard time photographing them though. These are the best of my fern shots.

God only knows what that stone fence was doing across the middle of the side of the mountain. It went on for quite a ways. Some folks worked a long time on it a long time ago, and now.... nothing.
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Balancing Rock, Mt Wachussett State Park

Some of us took a stroll up to the Balancing Rock in Mt Wachussett State Park, a favorite trail for Uncle Frank to go to. Uncle George is the oldest of the group and was well ahead of us most of the time. Of course we had to try to dislodge the rock. I'm not sayin we did, and if it's dislodged now, it was fine when we left. Really. No one saw us do a thing!

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There is a reservoir system near my uncle's house that has an old dam that has been bypassed in the watershed. You can see the wall of the original dam in the 3rd photo here. It's getting taken over by trees on the downstream side. Upstream it appears to have filled in for the most part. The factory that originally used the dam is long gone, with not a trace left, other than this dam ands sluice way that has two waterfalls.
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It's all relative

Look at that baby's blue eyes! I wonder where he gets them from!

We got to see lots of people we hadn't seen in a while. I made them endure getting some off the cuff group photos done. Mary acted as my assistant by jumping up and down and acting goofy for most of the porch shots. She got busted by some neighbors that laughed at her antics and then agreed to take the photo at the end with the fat guy in the red shirt. We had a blast with all the relatives.
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We went to Providence RI for the Waterfire event. It was interesting, and kind of strange. Some of my random thoughts and impressions: Providence spent around 140 million bucks to rearrange and resurrect some rivers in downtown to set up the waterfire shows. Massive building downtown has also occurred so I guess it was worth spending public funds to "fix" the river(s). The start of the event has some boats moving upstream carrying lots of folks dressed in black, while Lord of the Ringsish (there I go makin up words again) sounding music is played. It has a medevil, evil tone to it... kind of strange. The music kind of changes and the boats light the braziers up and down the river. The smoke fills the air with a smell that is a cross between wood and kerosene, though it's not overwhelming. The heat from the fires is noticable on the riverwalk area, even in the summer.
The event draws it's share of what I'll call 'unusual' folks. I saw a pair of men, dressed as vampires that were apparently a couple... I wasn't quick enough on the draw to ask to take their picture. I suppose if they were really vampires I wouldn't have seen anyting in the photos! It wasn't clear to me why there were Venetian style gondoliers boating people around, but... whatever. Some young ladies on shore had gotten into some adult beverages and started singing "O Solo mio" with gusto if not talent when one of the gondolas passed.

I liked the Waterfire.
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Still lifes

I don't know if that should be still lifes, or lives, but I'm going with lifes as a pluralization of "Still life"... correct me if i'm wrong! Anyways... here are some more that I took last week in New England. The first 3 were indoors. The antique desk in the parlor shot took some chimping in order to see the inside and out the window, I had to use off camera flash. I liked the effect.
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Saturday, August 18, 2007


Here is a brief review of the bugs that were easy to find in the garden

300 posts! Garden Macro Shots

I just logged in to post some macro flower shots and noticed I was up to 299 posts. This makes #300. Who knew I had that much to say! Anyways, here are some shots I got in my Aunt's garden. I love black eyed susans.

Cool isolation using depth of field.

Caroline noticed this butterfly. His wings had seen better days, but you can't see that from this angle.

This bee was coming in for a landing!

Colors and shapes and details