C-17 POTUS Support


OK…. here’s what that means:

McDonnell Douglas / Boeing U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III heavy transport plane on President Of The United States support duty.

There are only so many characters I can use in the title of a post, and sometimes, you just have to work with what you have to work with.


I had my camera at work today (D-5100 and Tamron 18-270mm), and, as luck would have it, it was in my hands when I looked up to see a C-17 on approach to BUR (Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, CA).  It was big.  It was quiet.  And, I managed to get my lens cap off and snap a few before it was too late.  The President was in town, and the C-17 provides logistic support (limousines, etc.) when the President travels.

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This is only the third time I’ve seen a C-17, and the first time that I was able to photograph one.  It’s not something you see every day, that’s for sure.  This one is flown by the Air Mobility Command at Travis AFB in Fairfield, CA.

The first time I saw one was while I was driving south on I-5 from Seattle to Vancouver, WA.  It was on final approach to Joint Base Lewis-McChord which is south of Tacoma, WA.  Final approach means that the plane is low, and let’s just say that a C-17 can cast a shadow over your car and get your attention in a way few things can.  It’s not something you expect if you’re not from that area…

You can learn more about the C-17 from the Air Force website and also our friends at Wikipedia.

As I was surfing the web to learn more about the C-17, I came across an article published last week in the Los Angeles Times about the C-17 plant in Long Beach, CA.  The last C-17’s are being completed now and the plant is closing.  Airplanes can last a long time – the Air Force plans to be flying C-17’s into the 2040’s and beyond, and there just isn’t an everyday market for BIG cargo planes.  Another piece of history is written…



Fifi in pictures

Fifi is the only operable Boeing B-29 Superfortress Bomber in the world as of March 2015.

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I was privileged, honored, and fortunate to see Fifi at the Van Nuys Ca Airport as part of the CAF AirPower History Tour.  That event went beyond expectations, as I was able to watch (and smell) her start up (video here) and to see her fly.  I wasn’t able to take a tour, so that remains on my Bucket List, but in no way can I complain about the living history I saw that day.

All images were made in color using a Nikon D-90 and Tamron 18-270 lens.

Then, I did something different for this gallery.

Fifi is a product of the black and white era – black and white television, black and white newspapers, and (predominantly) black and white photographic film.

To maintain the spirit of Fifi’s era, I used two different black and white effects in Perfect Photo Suite 9 by on1 Software to create most of the images of Fifi that I’m sharing with you.

The first is a gritty and grainy effect that mimics how these images might have appeared to the readers of a 1940’s newspaper.  The second is a cleaner effect that mimics Kodak’s legendary Tri-X black and white film.

There are a few color images as well, and these are along the lines of a chrome slide film.

I’m curious to hear feedback about the black and white images, particularly which effect you like better and why.

Instead of placing these images in the Military section of the Planes gallery on Laughing Frog Images, I decided that it was more than appropriate for Fifi to have her own gallery – you can check Fifi’s gallery out by clicking here.

The Commemorative Air Force are the folks that keep Fifi going, and made that day and these images possible.  My thanks to all who make Fifi happen.

Fifi Awakens

Wondering just what the title is about?

Well, now that I have your attention…

I recently had the fortune/privilege of seeing the only operable Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber in the world (at least as of March 2015), Fifi.

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It was a strange day in some ways.

On one hand, there was the awe of what was the biggest and baddest bomber of its’ time.

There was the awe of watching her awaken from a slumber and prepare for flight.  The smell of unburnt fuel as the revolutions built, the puffs of sweetly acrid smoke dissipating into the air.  The vibration at my feet.

The realization that not only was I watching a machine, but one made for war.

As I said, it wasn’t just a “let’s go take airplane pictures” kind of day.  It was a day of reflection.

There were World War II Veterans there, including at least one who flew in one of Fifi’s kin, a member of a P-38 Ground Crew, and a P-51 pilot.  There were people of all nations and colors.

Many cheered when Fifi’s fourth engine reached full revs.  I wonder if they were cheering for Fifi as she is or what she represents to each of them.

It made me think of something related, but not.

My mind went to the the smiling boy I remember from across the street went to war as a young man, and didn’t come home.  I was probably reflecting differently than most that day.  I’ll stop there, because we all reflect upon war and loss differently.

But, let’s look at Fifi for what she is – an aircraft of a bygone era.  Technologically, the B-29 was at the leading edge of bomber design at that time.  And, I got to see her fly in 2015.

If you’d like to learn more about the B-29, click here for Wikipedia’s page, and here for Boeing’s page.

If you’d like to see Fifi as she awakens, click here to be taken to the Laughing Frog Images YouTube page or click here to be taken directly to the video.  It’s not the greatest video in the world, as I had to hold my phone above people, and try to keep it steady for about four minutes – so I apologize for the technical quality, but not the content.

I am working on a gallery of Fifi for Laughing Frog Images.  In the interest of being true to Fifi’s era, all of the images will be in Black and White.  There will be two versions of each image – one will mimic Kodak Panatomic X film (“Pan-X”), and one will mimic the grainy reproduction of a newspaper of the era.  It will be interesting to see what the feedback is on the two versions.