#1365. A Seattle Jewel for the Aviation Buff . . .

By Paul Barclay | Travel Photography

Jun 09

… and Closing the Loop on the SL2

This article came about because I needed a fun photographic day doing something out of the ordinary, and I was told that seven AV-8 Harrier jets were visiting the King County International Airport in Seattle, which is locally known as Boeing Field. Scanning the article, I saw that one of the sources was from the Museum of Flight, so this became my first destination to find and hopefully photograph these unusual jets.

Arriving at the Museum, I drove past the ramp parking area where visiting aircraft are usually parked and at it was empty. Which meant if the Harriers were still in Seattle my quest may not be that easy. Fortunately, the museum grounds provide a good view of the aircraft parking areas at the airport, so parking and taking a longer look across the field was a good idea.

After parking and walking back to the visiting aircraft ramp fence, I found the Harriers on the opposite side of the airfield at a hangar about half way down the runway. So, I did what any aviation buff would do. I went into the museum to renew my membership, and have a look around.

When you approach the entrance, you are greeted by a Lockheed Constellation Super G painted in Trans-Canada Airlines colors.

 

My first stop inside the museum was the Space Exploration room located to the left as you enter the Great Gallery. Here there are exhibits that include a Sputnik satellite, an Apollo capsule, Lunar Module (LM) mockup, Lunar Rover, and more.

 
 
 

My next stop was the Great Gallery. Here there are aircraft from all eras of flight, on the floor and overhead. In this room my favorite aircraft is the Lockheed Electra with its bare metal skin to reflect the room around it. Though, every time I visit something new catches my eye because the light in the gallery is different with each visit.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Next, I went into the Personal Courage Wing, which was new to me. In this gallery the museum highlights WWI and WWII pilots from around the world. While there are a variety of aircraft on display, there are more artifacts and displays related to the pilots, crews, and support personnel for each of the aircraft.

 
 
 
 
 

Since it was getting late in the afternoon, I skipped the Red Barn, which is the original building where Boeing began. I went to the Aviation Pavilion which is a covered outdoor display area of iconic modern aircraft. During my visit, the Concorde, Air Force One, and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner were open for visitors to tour. Different aircraft are open on different days.

 
 
 

After visiting the Outdoor Pavilion, I decided it was time to get back to my quest and find the Harriers. Which proved to be more of a challenge than I expected. I found that I was not as familiar with the streets at the North side of the airfield as I thought I was, and Seattle rush hour traffic was well under way. So, one wrong turn meant I had to drive a long slow route back to the South side of the airfield. Ultimately, I did find a small peek-a-boo view of the Harriers behind a fence and between two hangars. But I did not have enough lens to make a worthy image. So, I decided to stop in the nearby Georgetown Neighborhood of Seattle to take advantage of the afternoon light.

 
 

Closing the loop:

I did not expect to be writing another article about using the Leica SL2, particularly since the SL3 is now available. But I was having an email conversation with Pascal about his thoughts on new cameras and the possibility of him considering a Leica or a Panasonic Lumix camera. When I noticed that some images made with my 24MP Lumix S5 could be enlarged more in Capture One than images made with my 47MP Leica SL2, which did not make sense to me.

For anyone not familiar with my earlier articles they may be found at the links below:

Leica SL2 Repair Review – Part 1

Leica SL2 and Nikon 50mm AIS Review

Leica SL2 and Zeiss 35mm f1.4 ZM Distagon Review

Since I have been using the SL2 almost exclusively with adapted lenses, and selecting the lens profile that is the closest match for the lens I was using to activate image stabilization. I suspected that the lens corrections included with the profile may be playing a role in this situation. Which sent me on a wild goose chase of lens testing, and for a while had me convinced that that my sensor was off kilter; combining a little knowledge with focus peaking and lens field curvature can be a dangerous thing.

My conclusions from this testing are below:

  • If a lens profile is selected*, the included lens corrections will be applied and this does affect how much enlargement can be applied in your processing software before the image appears to go soft. In Capture One the upper limit is about 125%. If the focal-length based stabilization method is selected, no corrections are applied, and most images look good at over 200% enlargement.
  • One of the things a lens profile corrects is the affect the sensor cover glass has on the light projected by the lens on the sensor. Leica is using a thinner sensor cover glass than Sony is using in their cameras, but the effects are very similar depending on lens design, focal length, and distance to your subject. Of my rangefinder lenses, 35mm is the widest focal length I would use without a lens profile. My 21mm Elmarit f2.8 M gave good results stopped down. But cover glass effects are still visible at f11, so some cropping would be necessary.
  • If your photographic style is to shoot between wide open and f4, I recommend using the Leica lens profiles as they are quite good at correcting lens smearing at fast apertures.
  • If your photographic style is to stop down to f4 or more, set stabilization by the lens focal length. This will let the camera capture all of the performance your lens is able to project. Which may surprise you by how good it is when set at f8 or f11.

All of the above images were made using the Zeiss 35mm Distagon f1.4 ZM lens (Audry) with stabilization set to 35mm. Aperture was set based on the visual affect I was trying to achieve in the view finder.

*Lens profiles and corrections for native L-mount lenses are always used by the Leica SL2.

 

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  • Pascal O. says:

    Dear Paul,
    Thank you for this very interesting article and nice set of pics.
    One little comment on the Anglo-French aircraft, if I may.
    It is spelled Concorde with an e.
    If I am underlying this, it is indeed because naming the plane became a major issue between the English and the French around…this very e.
    It is said that General de Gaulle himself insisted that it bore an e at the end, as Concord does not exist in French.
    O tempora, o mores.
    Thank you again, I was delighted to read this post.

  • That is a wonderful museum, isn’t it?

    Have you been to the air and space museum in McMinnville?

    Large banks of glass gives such beautiful light. Keep up the good work.

    • PaulB says:

      Christopher

      Yes, the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville is a wonderful place. For a small museum in a small town, it gives up nothing to larger collections. Plus, for those not familiar with the museum, it is the home of the Spruce Goose, which was built by Howard Hughes.

      The last time I was there, I visited the Space Museum, which has its own building. At that time the space side was rather new, so the building had a lot of open space. But the exhibits on display were well worth the time.

      Have you been to the Hotel Oregon for UFO Fest?

      PaulB

      • You’d think I would’ve gone, right? But I never went to the UFO Fest, even though I lived in the Pacific Northwest for over 25 years.

        Speaking all things mechanical, I’m sure you know about the roundhouse where they keep SPS700, ORN197, and fabulous art deco SP4449. I used to haunt the old roundhouse before it was torn down. The new place isn’t 1/2 bad and Doyle has/had all his wonderful toys on display.

        • PaulB says:

          McMinnville, Hotel Oregon, and the surrounding wine country, is one of our favorite destinations in Oregon. Yet, like you, we have not been to UFO Fest.

          Yes, I am aware of the train museum and the original roundhouse. In fact, I was talking about them with the NW Lumix (Panasonic) Sales Rep. He lives in Portland and posts train images on Instagram fairly often.

  • PaulB says:

    Pascal

    Thank you for the correction and the history of naming the aircraft. I will blame the auto-correction software for the error, but it was probably human error.

    You are welcome for the post. It was a fun afternoon to photograph.

    PaulB

  • pascaljappy says:

    Hi Paul, other Pascal here 😉

    Not being much of a connoisseur of aviation, I can only judge the photographs on their visual appeal. And they have much of that. I have to say your series has been enlightening and your mastery of the camera seems to have grown considerably over the episodes. In this last one, the images made with your SL2 and the lovely Distagon 35 ZM are nothing short of cinematographic. The colours are superb, the tones are superb, the 3D is superb, the exposure is superb and many of the compositions are superb!

    Big thanks for all the work!!

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Stunning collection – and the standard of maintenance is extraordinary. Your reference to a Lockheed Electra sent a chill down my spine – a friend of mine and I went on the last flight of an Electra in Australia, and coming in to land at Melbourne’s old Essendon airport, the port engine caught fire – flames and smoke belching everywhere, clearly visible from where we were sitting. And just when you thought it couldn’t possibly, it got seriously worse! – as we touched down, the pilot must have panicked – he threw the aircraft into full reverse thrust and locked the landing wheels. The aircraft shook and shuddered so badly I thought it was going to disintegrate! Reverse thrust with one engine out of action? – extraordinary idea!
    Thanks for sharing these shots, anyway – I’ve had a lifelong interest in planes, sparked by my father’s interest – as a 5-year old, he lived opposite one of our aviation pioneers – well two of them actually – Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith, famous for making the first flight from England to Australia, in 30 days – in 1919. An early photo of dad had him in one of their flying jackets – the jacket was bigger than he was! And we were forever going to Adelaide’s original airport (aerodrome, as it was called, in those days) to stare at all the planes, coming and going.
    Later, one of my former school friends took me for a flight in his Tiger Moth, which was pretty exciting. Another friend restored an American fighter plane from WW2, and because I’d helped him get the money together to buy it and restore it, he took me for a flight in that. Only time I’ve ever had a ride in a helicopter, I managed to jag the seat alongside the pilot – the front of the machine was like a glass bubble, with us sitting in the middle of it – suspended on a steel frame so that we felt as if we were floating in the middle of this bubble, with a 270 degree panoramic view – and seeming nothing between us and the ground! Then there ws a seaplane in Lake Como, to fly across to Lago Maggiore
    All good fun.

  • John Wilson says:

    Paul – so near and dear to my heart. I fell in love with an aeroplane when I was 6 and a girl when I was 21. Should have stuck to planes. Wanted desperately to be a commercial pilot, even passed all the Air Force air crew exams but severe astigmatism in one eye crashed that dream. Still love aviation, aerospace and military (aviation) history. There’s a small aviation museum an easy walk from home that I haven’t visited for a while … now on the to do list.

    Thanks for sharing this delicious collection of aviation eye candy.

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