30 July, 2017 “Bird” photography in paradise
“Wherever my travels may lead, paradise is where I am.” – Voltaire
A week ago I put up a blog post called “Guest ‘bird’ photographer – Mediterranean Sea – 1959”. This weekend – I only got home late this evening – my friend Pat and I went to Pensacola, FL to visit his son Daniel, who used to take us flying in this area. He’s now learning to become a Marine pilot at Pensacola, and he and his wife Mary were our gracious hosts this weekend. Mary was also our gracious photographer, and she took these two pictures of Pat and Daniel and me inside the National Naval Aviation Museum aboard NAS Pensacola. Here are a couple of the pictures Mary took:
If you looked at the “Guest ‘bird’ photographer” link above, or at the USS Saratoga (CVA 60) link at the top of this page, you’ll see pictures my Dad took of Navy fighter jets (and one propeller plane) in 1959. Incredibly (to me) I saw several of those planes in the museum! Yesterday! My Dad took pictures of the actual aircraft on board an actual aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea in 1959, two years before I was born. And I was photographing the same planes fifty-eight years later! I hope you’ll forgive me; I’m going to put a couple of last week’s pictures in here, with pictures I took yesterday for comparison. We saw an F3H-2M Demon in the museum. Here’s the picture in the museum yesterday:
Picture my Dad took of an F3H Demon – in 1959:
It was moving in the strangest way to look at that actual plane just a week after I discovered my Dad’s pictures. It was moving in a good way and unsettling in a good way. Unsettling as in, the odds of a sequence of events like that occurring are so unlikely. But so fantastic.
Similar situation with a Douglas AD Skyraider. Here’s one in the museum, from the front:
Pictures my Dad took of Skyraiders – in 1959:
I have too much stuff! It’s overwhelming, in an excellent way, like being locked in a room filled with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and ice cold bottles of fresh milk. Not exactly like that, but overwhelming in the most rewarding way.
But wait – there’s more. Because when you’re going to be overwhelmed, you might as well be really overwhelmed. As a Primary Flight Training student, Daniel is flying the T-6B Texan. We didn’t get to see Daniel fly, but there were T-6’s parked everywhere. 148 on the base, Daniel says. And guess who didn’t take a single picture!? What can I say. Just as we got there, one was doing touch-and-go landings and it flew over our head in the parking lot. I snapped this image just by luck:
Anyway, more luck than that. Daniel was able to spend time in the T-6 simulator Saturday and he invited Pat and me to watch. It was huge – actual sized – and it was so realistic it made you dizzy – in the best way, like a fun rollercoaster – to watch. Here’s a picture Pat took of Daniel in the simulator:
Daniel was a civilian flight instructor before he joined the USMC. He talked Pat and me through the maneuvers he was doing. Daniel is a superb instructor but I am only a fair listener. I think he said this was a spin. Pat took the video. Some viewers may find it vertiginous:
Daniel and Mary have a sweet dog named Jack; I’m always happy to meet a new dog during my travels. He’s a handsome little boy:
I’m going to bed! Daniel and Mary and Jack, thank you for your invitation and incredible hospitality this weekend. Pat, thanks for inviting me along! Have a great week,