If it hadn’t been so cold this morning then you could have almost imagined it was spring. The sun was making an appearance and I almost questioned whether it would have been worth getting up to see the sunrise. Sadly not quite. After a home breakfast Elaine and I decided to break from routine and nip over to Golden Acre Park . After a very slow wander around the park lake we decided we would stop at the cafe for a quick coffee. No word of a lie, it was really warm sat in the sun and the coffee and scone tasted sublime. Why is that? Why does food always taste different outside? Strange isn’t it. The birds in and around the park are quite tame as they are used to human interaction and it’s quite easy to get good photographs from the cafe terrace. Today I refrained from taking the camera as a stroll was in order. I have had plenty of images from the cafe terrace over the years and today would have been ideal
opportunity for some more of the same. I sat down with Elaine and it was actually warm, the sun was cutting through the air and it actually felt warm. We had a little visitor join us for coffee, a Robin. Not having the camera to hand I missed the opportunity so I have supplied you with a picture from a couple of years ago to give you an idea of the proximity of the birds to the cafe. The coffee and scone were lovely and we headed back to the car for the short ride home.
Over the winter months my aviation photography has been put on a back burner and apart from a couple of visits down south and last weeks trip to Lincolnshire thats been about it. Adrian texted me this morning informing me of an unusual visitor at the airport. So off we head in beautiful sunshine the 800 metres from home to the airport. The primary reason for todays visit was to see a rather rare visitor to Leeds Bradford Airport. The aircraft in question actually visited the airport on the 14th of this month and I was unavoidably detained elsewhere so missed the opportunity to grab a shot. The aircraft is a United States Army Beech RC-12Q a later variation of the RC-12D. The Beech RC-12D was an adaptation of the business class Super King Air 200B and replaced the earlier version designated as the Beech RU21HA large number of these aircraft were acquired by the US Army and deployed with various elements of the Army Security Agency (ASA) for battlefield electronic reconnaissance. The aircraft are used for COMINT and D/F duties and are equipped with the fully automated ‘Guardrail V’ system which relays data to ground stations via a data-link. The aircraft also carries an ECM system.The latest version, the RC-12Q, introduces a satellite relay function between participating ‘Guardrail’ units. Operating as a ‘mother ship’ to surrounding RC-12P aircraft, the RC-12Q receives data from the other aircraft and, together with it’s own data, relays it via satellite to a ground station where operators remotely control the aircraft’s bank of receivers. The ground operators can also uplink flight path and frequency changes to the aircraft – very little processing is carried out on the aircraft. A crew of 2 pilots flies the aircraft which have frequently been deployed to areas of conflict, such as Kosovo. Around 60 RC-12’s have been delivered to the US Army over the years. A photo of the RC-12Q is shown. I will post a link to todays images shortly.
I managed to grab a handful of images including a shot of a British Airways Airbus departing for Heathrow. The significance is? I hear you ask….is, well…the last time I photographed a British Airways aircraft at Leeds Bradford Airport was the 4th of November 1984 when the inaugural 747 flights used the new runway extension for the first time. You can view a set showing the 747’s on my Flickr pages here . Apart from a few diversions from Manchester over the years I still havent managed to grab a decent shot. So when the service was announced back in June last year I made a point to visit the airport from December onwards and grab a few frames. We havent had the best of weather over the last two months and today was an ideal first opportunity.
As you know, I have a passion for low light photography and sunsets. Whilst sat here typing my blog I can see the setting sun; I stared and just watched the colour emerge from the horizon. It was totally unexpected as it looked way too hazy in the distance for anything spectacular to happen. The glow just became more and more solid orange. With no time to dash off anywhere I resorted to standing at the window and making the best of the foreground to emphasize the colour. I will leave you for today with a shot of the last light of the day. Be safe people. Thanks for reading.