A Little Sunday Drive

Spring is around the corner and these sixty degrees March days are really starting to get addictive but if you’ve lived in the Rocky Mountains for any period of time then you know not to get hooked on them. The weather can change awfully fast going into April and become very unpredictable so it’s important to get and enjoy while you can. I think that advice is good for anyone. After a long week of work, it’s good to get out for a drive with the camera and enjoy the scenery.

Drive By Photography

I’m certainly not the first to try drive-by photography but when you’re not actually driving and just looking out the window, it’s kind of a fun thing to play around with. With the Z50 it was a no-brainer rolling down the window and freezing the other passengers. Fresh snow disappears real fast in the lower elevations, so after a storm rolls through it’s a good time for a road trip.

A Trip to Big Spring

There are a lot of interesting geothermal spots within the Yellowstone caldera and each one is usually worth the visit. I went a visited one that I had neither heard of before nor been to, a place called Big Spring. Located just minutes outside of Island Park, ID, the four-mile driving loop goes along Henry’s Fork of the Snake River and Big Springs. The Springs itself is a natural spring that is the primary source for Henry’s Fork which travels down several miles to Henry’s Lake and the Island Park Reservoir. Because it is attached to a geothermal vent it always stays above 52 degrees year-round. This not only makes it a very beautiful spot to visit in the wintertime but also a great fish spawning habitat that is closed to fishing.

Built-in 1929, the Jason Sacks cabin is among one the attractions at the Spring. Along with the cabin are the water turbine and shed. Of course, if that’s not enough, the area is filled with large rainbow trout which tourists often feed under the bridge. Since there is no fishing the trout tend to get quite large. Fun little trips like these were what kept me in Montana.

 

The Sizzling Spitfire

March fifth was another important anniversary as it marked the 85th Anniversary of the first flight of the Supermarine Spitfire. The Spitfire is not only an iconic aircraft from WWII but it is also one of the most revered fighters to have come out of WWII. Enthusiasts and historians alike have a passion for the Spitfires. From the first conception to the epic battles over Great Britain in 1940, to Africa, the Mediterranean, the Pacific, Southeast Asia, and of course the epic dogfights over occupied Europe. The history of the multiple variants of the Spitfire goes on and on and lives on today with numerous examples being flown around the world. Needless to say that this is merely going to be an INTRO post as there is no possible way for me to write about the whole legacy of this plane.

AVWOHSC3452

The Spitfire was designed by R.J. Mitchell and his team at Supermarine Aviation Works, a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong, to meet Air Ministry requirement F7/30. Mitchell designed the Supermarine Type 224, an open cockpit monoplane with fixed landing gear and a 600hp engine. It was a disappointment so the team “cleaned” up the design and created the Gloster Gladiator Biplane which was accepted into service. Mitchell then designed Type 300, an improvement on the Gladiator, but wasn’t enough of an improvement and was turned down. Mitchell went back and redesigned the Type 300 with a single thinner wing, breathing apparatus, closed cockpit, and a more powerful Rolls-Royce PV-XII V-12 engine, later named the “Merlin” engine. In December of 1934, Mitchell got the backing by Vickers-Armstrong to go ahead with the improved Type 300 and in December of 1934, the Air Ministry provided the capital and contract to produce the improved F7/30. On January 3rd, 1935 Air Ministry approved the contract and designated it F10/35.

In April of 1935, the armament was changed from two .303 Vickers Machine guns to four .303 Browning machine guns. Captain Joseph “Mutt” Summers took the controls of the prototype (K5054) for the first time on March 5th, 1936 for its maiden eight-minute flight. He was later quoted as saying, “Don’t touch a thing.” The flight of the Spitfire came four months after the first flight of the Hawker Hurricane. Over the next several months the K5054 was flown by several squadron leaders adding in their two cents on various performance issues and possible ways of improvement. Multiple propellers were used to increase maximum speed up to 348mph. While later models would go faster than this. Changes were made to the rudder, a new engine, and an undercarriage position indicator. The Spitfire gradually became more and more refined. On June 3rd, 1936, the Air Ministry placed an order for 310 Spitfires before a formal report was issued by the A&AEE.

AVTFLFT20636

Many features made the Spitfire a unique aircraft, one of the most distinctive was the elliptical wing design. In 1934 the design staff had to solve the need for a thin wing as well as one that was strong enough to house the undercarriage as well as the armament and ammunition. The elliptical design was the most efficient aerodynamic plan for an untwisted wing. Needless to say that I am not an expert on the aerodynamics of drag on the wings so in this case, I would recommend looking up the engineering and flight characteristic of how an elliptical wing is better than a straight edge or swept wing design. As the Spitfire evolved to handle multiple roles so were the refinements of flight characteristics. The history of the Spitfire is partly due to the history of the multiple engines, wing, armament, airframe, cockpit, and other characteristic changes. There are in fact too many to write out everyone here.

 

Winter Spawn

I started flyfishing in the winter many years ago because one of my friends thought it was a good idea. It was really cold, the eyes on our rods would freeze, if you got wet it could lead to frostbite and we didn’t always catch something. Despite all that, it turns out he was right. Winter fishing has become one of the things I look forward to the most out of the year because the trout that we do catch has some of the most vibrant colors I’ve ever seen. Rainbow Trout move out of lakes and up the river to their spawning grounds and during that time the males mainly turn the most vibrant colors. Females can also get good colors but nothing like the males. Just one of these beauties makes the whole day worthwhile.

The Bridgers Got Some Light

Well, I did say some, unfortunately, I was too slow to get to a good spot in time before the light was completely gone. I have always liked going out to shoot in between storms because that’s usually when the most dramatic skies appear. The other was no different. I got the camera as quickly as I could, drove out to a local spot, and photographed what was left of the light. the results, a nice evening, and a couple of quick clicks.

Good Old Black and White Mountains

I do love winter in Montana. The Bridger Mountains really come to life with a good snowfall and you get to see this entirely different side to the slopes. Even better when you get on a pair of skies and go back into some remote place and see the peaks that otherwise you just don’t get to. As always I had my Z50 with me and I couldn’t help but stop at this clearing and take a quick click of the peaks as the sun came out from the clouds. Naturally, the scenario screamed for a black and white conversion because all that contrast just made the scene pop.

Straight Plane or Straight Horizon?

The Hawker Hurricane is an amazing fighter plane with a very colorful history. It’s sad that so few exist in the world. At the time of its conception, it was a ground breaking plane with its retractable landing gear, speed, and armament. Like most planes, though it was merely a stepping stone along the line of the next great thing to come along. Still one of my favorites. While in England many years ago I had the chance to photograph a Hurricane on a beautiful evening shoot. This question popped up like has happened so many times in the past, do you level the subject or the background? I’ve dealt with this a lot and for me, the answer has always been the subject because that’s where the eye goes first. It just looks weird to have the subject crocked to me and if that means the horizon is at a slant, well then that just means the subject is on a hill.

One Heck of a Flying Boat

Ever since I got started with Aviation photography, I was drawn to the PBY. Something about the design of the plane made it stand out compared to the others, which isn’t to say that the others were bad looking. Made by Consolidated Aircraft Company the Catalina PBY had a wide array of roles throughout WWII, including as I have just learned, a horizontal bomber during the first year of the war. It was quickly found out that the PBY-4 was a terrible horizontal daylight bombing aircraft. 

The two greatest contributions the plane made was as a patrol aircraft and a search and rescue plane. Downed airmen or stranded sailors looked to the skies in both the Pacific and Atlantic for these great winged birds descending from the skies to bring the stranded back to safety. As a patrol plane, the PBY could go large distances and with a nine-man crew, there were lots of eyes scanning the horizons for ships. Unfortunately, like most things in time they become outdated and more trouble then they are worth. Due to the size and limited interest, only a handful of airworthy PBY’s are still flying today.

Sitting up Top

They say the view from up top is pretty good but I doubt that’s what these three were thinking when they decided to take an afternoon nap on top of this null. Elk tend to sleep in covered areas but in the afternoons they’ll bed down in between meals in plain sight. With the wind howling that day I have no doubt that where they were positioned they could’ve easily detected any predator that might be in the area.

error: Content is protected !!