Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – well, maybe just Planes
I have been relatively active since my previous post and have several photos to share. First, last week during this extremely hot and humid weather, and while Kathy was out in L.A. for meetings, I took the opportunity to get out in the evening once again and find some good sky.
Thunderstorms were promised for later in the night and there were some thunderheads forming around Champaign. This time, rather than heading west toward Mahomet, I went southeast toward Philo (taking Curtis Road east across Philo Road). I am afraid I have quite a few images to display – I may need to think about a site that is better geared toward handling such things – I am really a novice at this.
I do really like the panoramic views you can get around here…
There are more and these will take care of some scenery, for now:
I had read in the News-Gazette that Chanute was going to be visited by a vintage B-17 on Saturday. My father was a B-17 mechanic in the Army-Air Corps stationed out west, predominantly in Laramie, WY and Alamagordo, NM during the war, so I have more than a passing interest in this type of plane. I had pretty much forgotten about the visit when I heard the distinctive rumble of its engines overhead. Sure enough, the plane was flying out of Chanute on one of its tourist rides (at ~$450 per person!). I ran outside with my telephoto ready and got some relatively snappy photos as it went over our house:
This opportunity whetted my apetite, and given that Kathy would not be home until late, I decided I would head out with the hope I could nab some photos from a better and closer perspective. So, I headed east and then striaght north on High Cross Road. A lesson learned earlier in the week with the scenery photos was that when it is hot and humid and you and your camera sit in air-conditioned comfort in the car, when one hops out, the first thing that happens is your camera lenses fog. Not good. So…I drove with the windows open and took the heat. I drove slowly with an “eye on the sky” to no avail. Before long, I was on the south end of Rantoul and at the old air base perimeter fence. I drove around to the east side, more or less wandering aimlessly when I realized I was passing a runway – a runway with its landing lights on – and for an airport that is no longer open, that meant to me only one thing. I pulled over in anticipation of a take-off or landing. Suddenly, I saw some movement at the end of the runway and out taxis the B-17. I started shooting through the chain-link fence, which with the telephoto, you can’t see.
Unfortunately, the plane turned to the north and I thought, damn, I am going to miss it! I decided my best bet would be to head back south and see if I could catch it on its way back down to tour over Champaign. As I got back to the south end of the base, I saw a man and wife in their pickup pulled off on the side of the road looking toward the base. I stopped and asked if they were waiting for the bomber. Sure enough, they said and not only that, but they were expecting it to take off right there. And they were right. I barely had time to get my camera ready and here she came:
I got off a couple of shots, not all that well-focused, before all that was left was a tail-view. I’d say it was all over in about 15 seconds, but what a thrill!
I will end this post with a couple of photos snapped from the 1st Tee at Lake-of-the-Woods golf course. The previous weekend I golfed out there and near the par three fourth hole we saw two fawns and a doe casually watching us from the edge of the woods. I had no camera at the time, but this day I was prepared. The doe led the way as her youngsters cautiously followed across the golf course entrance.
That’s enough for today…