Milky Way

 

image

It’s been a couple of years since I last posted on here, but I wanted to share an image that I took recently whilst visiting Utah.  I was staying near Bryce Canyon and one evening the clouds cleared away and stars came out and you could clearly see the Milky Way.

i have always looked in awe at Milky Way photos and wished that we did not suffer with light pollution so much in the UK where I live.  I wanted to make the most of the dark skies during my trip around Arizona and Utah so I invested in a new lens before my trip.

The photo was taken with my Canon 7D and my new Samyang 14mm F2.8 lens.  The image is a vertical panorama made of 6 shots taken at 25 second exposure, F2.8, ISO 5000.

Thanks for looking, and your comments are most welcome.

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Farnborough Airshow 2014

Red Arrows Hawk

This year the Red Arrows celebrate their 50th Display Season and to commemorate this milestone they have a new tail decoration.  This was one of the Reds heading down the runway shortly after landing.  Once again the Red Arrows did an amazing display which left me feeling very patriotic and proud.

DC3 Dakota

One of three DC3 Dakotas on display at the Farnborough International Airshow 2014.  Its speed and range revolutionised air transport in the 1930s and 1940s and its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made.

Eurofighter Typhoon

An RAF Eurofighter Typhoon taking off right in front of me.  What a fantastic aircraft!  The Eurofighter Typhoon is a highly agile aircraft, designed to be an effective dogfighter when in combat with other aircraft; later production aircraft have been increasingly more well-equipped to undertake air-to-surface strike missions and to be compatible with an increasing number of different armaments and equipment. The Typhoon saw its combat debut during the 2011 military intervention in Libya with the Royal Air Force and the Italian Air Force, performing reconnaissance and ground strike missions. The type has also taken primary responsibility for air defence duties for the majority of customer nations.

AV -8B Harrier II

My favourite of the show is the AV-8B Harrier II.  This particular aircraft belonged to the Spanish Air Force, sadly the RAF no longer use the Harrier due to its commitment to the new F-35 Lightning 2 which will enter service in the future.  The Harrier always amazes me as the pilot hovers and manouvres the plane around in mid air as if it is hanging off strings.  Following the withdrawal of the UK, McDonnell Douglas extensively redesigned the earlier AV-8A Harrier to create the AV-8B. While retaining the general layout of its predecessor, the aircraft incorporates a new wing, an elevated cockpit, a redesigned fuselage, one extra hardpoint per wing, and other structural and aerodynamicrefinements. The aircraft is powered by an upgraded version of the Pegasus, which gives the aircraft its V/STOL ability. The AV-8B made its maiden flight in November 1981 and entered service with the USMC in January 1985. Later upgrades added a night-attack capability and radar, resulting in the AV-8B(NA) and AV-8B Harrier II Plus, respectively. An enlarged version named Harrier III was also studied, but not pursued. The UK, through British Aerospace, re-joined the improved Harrier project as a partner in 1981, giving it a significant work-share in the project. After corporate mergers in the 1990s, Boeing and BAE Systems have jointly supported the program. Approximately 340 aircraft were produced in a 22-year production program that ended in 2003.

The Shard and HMS Belfast

The Shard and HMS Belfast

A photo taken from the River Thames in London of ‘The Shard’ with HMS Belfast in the foreground.

HMS Belfast is a museum ship, originally a Royal Navy light cruiser, permanently moored in London on the River Thames and operated by the Imperial War Museum.

Construction of Belfast, the first Royal Navy ship to be named after the capital city of Northern Ireland, and one of ten Town-class cruisers, began in December 1936. She was launched on St Patrick’s Day, 17 March 1938. Commissioned in early August 1939 shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, Belfast was initially part of the British naval blockade against Germany. In November 1939 Belfast struck a German mine and spent more than two years undergoing extensive repairs. Returning to action in November 1942 with improved firepower, radar equipment and armour, Belfast was the largest and arguably most powerful cruiser in the Royal Navy at the time. Belfastsaw action escorting Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union during 1943, and in December 1943 played an important role in the Battle of North Cape, assisting in the destruction of the German warship Scharnhorst. In June 1944 Belfast took part in Operation Overlord supporting the Normandy landings. In June 1945 Belfast was redeployed to the Far East to join the British Pacific Fleet, arriving shortly before the end of the Second World War. Belfast saw further combat action in 1950–52 during the Korean War and underwent an extensive modernisation between 1956 and 1959. A number of further overseas commissions followed before Belfast entered reserve in 1963.

In 1967, efforts were initiated to avert Belfast‘s expected scrapping and preserve her as a museum ship. A joint committee of the Imperial War Museum, the National Maritime Museum and the Ministry of Defence was established, and reported in June 1968 that preservation was practical. In 1971 the government decided against preservation, prompting the formation of the private HMS Belfast Trust to campaign for her preservation. The efforts of the Trust were successful, and the government transferred the ship to the Trust in July 1971. Brought to London, she was moored on the River Thames near Tower Bridge in the Pool of London. Opened to the public in October 1971, Belfast became a branch of the Imperial War Museum in 1978. A popular tourist attraction, Belfast receives around a quarter of a million visitors per year.  As a branch of a national museum and part of the National Historic Fleet, Core Collection, Belfast is supported by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, by admissions income, and by the museum’s commercial activities. The ship was closed to visitors following an accident in November 2011, and re-opened on 18 May 2012.

Dubai

Burj Khalifa

My wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary recently by spending four nights in beautiful Dubai.  I was unsure what to expect as I had only ever visited the middle east once before when I went to Saudi Arabia.  The hottest months in Dubai are usually June and July which worried me as I do not cope well in extreme heat, however we were lucky as it only hit to very low 40’s!  Dubai is a beautiful place full of interesting things to see including the modern architecture.  While we were there we ensured that we paid a visit to the Burg Khalifa and travelled up to the observation floor to admire the amazing views from the 124th floor.  Unfortunately by the time we came outside for some photos I had to shoot directly into the sun.  As I shoot in RAW I was able to rescue the photo to some degree and it has come out better than I was expecting.

The Burg Khalifa could produce its own record book due to the amount of world records it holds as follows: –

  • Tallest existing structure: 829.8 m (2,722 ft) (previously KVLY-TV mast – 628.8 m or 2,063 ft)
  • Tallest structure ever built: 829.8 m (2,722 ft) (previously Warsaw radio mast – 646.38 m or 2,121 ft)
  • Tallest freestanding structure: 829.8 m (2,722 ft) (previously CN Tower – 553.3 m or 1,815 ft)
  • Tallest skyscraper (to top of spire): 829.8 m (2,722 ft) (previously Taipei 101 – 509.2 m or 1,671 ft)
  • Tallest skyscraper to top of antenna: 829.8 m (2,722 ft) (previously the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower – 527 m or 1,729 ft)
  • Building with most floors: 163 (previously World Trade Center – 110)
  • Building with world’s highest occupied floor: 584.5 m (1,918 ft)
  • World’s highest elevator installation (situated inside a rod at the very top of the building)
  • World’s longest travel distance elevators: 504m (1,654 ft)
  • Highest vertical concrete pumping (for a building): 606 m (1,988 ft)
  • World’s tallest structure that includes residential space
  • World’s second highest outdoor observation deck: 124th floor at 452 m (1,483 ft). When it first opened, the observation deck was the highest outdoor observation deck in the World, but it has since been surpassed by Cloud Top 488 on top of Canton Tower.
  • World’s highest installation of an aluminium and glass façade: 512 m (1,680 ft)
  • World’s highest nightclub: 144th floor
  • World’s highest restaurant (At.mosphere): 122nd floor at 442 m (1,450 ft) (previously 360, at a height of 350 m (1,148 ft) in CN Tower)
  • World’s highest New Year display of fireworks.
  • World’s second highest swimming pool: 76th floor (world’s highest swimming pool is located on 118th floor of Ritz-Carlton Hotel at International Commerce Centre, Hong Kong).

Dubai Skyline at Night

We stayed at the ‘Fairmont the Palm’ Hotel www.fairmont.com/palm-dubai who made our stay extremely special.  My wife had contacted them when she made the booking and advised them we would be celebrating our anniversary.  When we arrived they greeted us warmly and wished us both a very happy anniversary and promptly upgraded our room to a deluxe room with a view.  The photo above was taken from our balcony on the second floor.  I would thoroughly recommend staying at this hotel if you are planning a visit to Dubai, the staff were excellent and the hotel was beautiful with several great restaurants to choose from.  I recommend ‘Frevo’ a Brazilian restaurant where you get served as much meat as you can eat from a choice of 15 different cuts.  The meat is carved at your table by the chefs.

Thanks for stopping by, your comments and feedback are most welcome.

City Hall and The Shard

City Hall and The Shard

 

I managed to capture this photo of the sun glinting off the glass of City Hall and The Shard behind whilst walking across Tower Bridge last week.  We had taken the day off to go up to London and go up The Shard to see the views.  The view from up there was pretty impressive but unfortunately the weather was overcast so my photos from up there weren’t much good.  However when we got back down to ground level the weather cheered up and the sun came out and we ended up doing a boat trip up the Thames.

City Hall is the headquarters of the Greater London Authority (GLA), which comprises the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. It is located in Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames near Tower Bridge. It was designed by Norman Foster and opened in July 2002, two years after the Greater London Authority was created.  City Hall was constructed at a cost of £43 million on a site formerly occupied by wharves serving the Pool of London. The building does not belong to the GLA but is leased under a 25-year rent. Despite its name, City Hall is neither located in nor does it serve a city (as recognised by English constitutional law), often adding to the confusion of Greater London with the City of London, whose headquarters is in the Guildhall, north of the Thames. In June 2011 Mayor Boris Johnson announced that for the duration of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the building would be called London House.  The building is located on the River Thames in the London Borough of Southwark. It forms part of a larger development called More London, including offices and shops. Next to City Hall is a sunken amphitheatre called The Scoop, which is used in the summer months for open-air performances; it is not, however, part of the GLA’s jurisdiction. The Scoop and surrounding landscape were designed by Townshend Landscape Architects. The nearest London Underground and National Rail station isLondon Bridge.

The Shard, also referred to as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge and formerly London Bridge Tower, is an 87-storey skyscraper in London that forms part of the London Bridge Quarter development. The Shard’s construction began in March 2009; it was topped out on 30 March 2012 and inaugurated on 5 July 2012.  Practical completion was achieved in November 2012. Its privately operated observation deck, the View from the Shard, opened to the public on 1 February 2013.

Standing approximately 306 metres (1,004 ft) high, the Shard is currently the tallest building in the European Union. It is the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the concrete tower at the Emley Moor transmitting station. The glass-clad pyramidal tower has 72 habitable floors, with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck – the UK’s highest – on the 72nd floor, at a height of 244.3 metres (802 ft).  It was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano and replaced Southwark Towers, a 24-storey office block built on the site in Southwark in 1975. The Shard was developed by Sellar Property on behalf of LBQ Ltd and is jointly owned by Sellar Property and the State of Qatar.

RIAT 2013 (more planes)

 

F4U-4 Corsair and B-25 Mitchell

Here are some more photos from the Royal International Air Tattoo 2013 at RAF Fairford.  The photo above is the B-25 Mitchell flying with the F4U-4 Corsair from the Red Bull team.

MIG 29

 

This is the Mikoyan MIG 29 from the Polish Air Force showing some heat.

AVRO Vulcan

 

…and to finish, we have an AVRO Vulcan bomber form the Royal Air Force.

 

Happy Christmas

Snowman

 

Since starting my blog earlier this year I have been overwhelmed by number of visitors who have been kind enough to like and comment on my photos and many of you have even started to follow my blog for which I am truly grateful.  I have discovered some wonderful photography on WordPress which has given me lots of inspiration.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

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