Flights: Portugal: Portuguese Eccentricities

The coast is an active place. Temperatures are consistent, population is higher, and people tend to be outside when near the water. That creates an interesting paradigm where these same humans tend to do odd and interesting things, and it so happens that Portugal is full of it. While I found some of the images amusing, I didn’t think they made “great photos” until I jokingly sent one to a friend of sheep grazing around piles of garbage, and she thought it was very interesting. Upon further examination, there was quite a question as to why someone would put such things in the grass in such a way, and the sheep were a nice touch to the whole thing. So, for today, we’re going to toss natural beauty to the wind and take a look at eccentric humanity.

I also have solved the conundrum of what to do with the blog. It got started in 2014 with a post for each flight, which made sense until 2017, the year when I took 178 flights. I have now decided to group them by subject, so multiple flights will feed into one post for the most part, until that breaks down and collapses.

Sheep with a shepherd.

“Lords of Santa.” Note the graffiti and the weird tower.

Fishing.

Sintra.

Western edge of the Sintra hill.

Why swim in the ocean, when there is a filthy pool instead?

I have heard that surfing is an active sport.

One with the sea?

Under construction.

At least they’re getting wet.

Note the shape of the cylinder in the center right. Why do people build phalli the world over?

“Ticky tacky houses all the same.”

Voluntary prison camp.

Pumpkins. It appears that they have no intention of smashing them.

I have heard that surfing is a great sport to have solitude in the water.

In the process of a wipe out.

That is a human. Lagoa de Óbidos.

I think the romance would be lost if one of them fell in.

Not quite raising the white flag.

The image that inspired it all: sheep grazing around Portuguese trash.

Coastal flowers.

Kite surfers.

Unusual roof tiles.

You can lead a horse to water…

There is someone standing in the center of this image.

Three seagulls.

Hobo on the beach.

A dog taking a crap on the beach.

Why get wet in the ocean when you can share contaminated water with other humans, right next to the ocean?

Death.

Coach class.

Appears to be a Portuguese bullfighting ring.

Alluvial fan.

Birds. I almost flew into a flock like this along the coast of North Carolina. It was like a video game to get out of it.

No beach walk for you!

No clue what this is….

Crates.

Dilapidated shed in a field of flowers, with a power line.

Sculpture garden.

Guy on a horse with a sword.

New age cross.

Some gold statue at a rather magnitudinous installation called “Fátima.”

Portuguese windmills, old style, in various stages of repair.

“Italian marble” from a Portuguese quarry. So I am told some of it is shipped to Italy to be polished and marketed as genuine Italian marble.

Shepherd leaning on his staff.

Flight: Portugal: Wandering Around the Silver Coast

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Photographs – Episode II

I have finally been asphyxiated by my own creativity. There are months of glorious flights back in Catalunya that I haven’t blogged about, and in the spirit of all things Iberian, I have decided I don’t care. I’ll eventually publish something. In the meantime, I am compulsively flying around Portugal whenever the sun comes out, so below are some photos.

As for the much promised second installation of mania, this one features whimsical musings over regional differences in geospatially-influenced travel and lifestyle decisions. The whole idea started with this maniacal quest that seems to surround my photography these days. There is this looming cloud of black doom hanging overhead. No, it is not the resigned pessimism of engine failure (that’s just a gray cloud); rather, it relates to the idea that “it is unlikely I will be here again in the Cub, so I may as well seize the day and go flying.” One would ask, “Where is here?” and the answer is that “here” is anywhere I am in Europe. Is it logical to assume that I will set foot again in Portugal with the Cub, or anywhere else I go? Probably not. Enter Germanic heritage with its associated nonsense about thrift, work, and value maximization, and now we have a recipe for a fanatical obsession.

That got me musing on the fact that I did not feel that way in Wyoming, where I did my highest concentration of flying in one year. Granted, once the decision was made to move to Germany, there was some hysteria to finish a long list of projects; however, the existentialism of Wyoming is not a deluded hysteria by any means: not for me, not for those who live there, and not for those who visit briefly. Wyoming and the West is about nature and exploration and the process of it. Few are in a mad rush to bucket list their way through natural monuments; they are usually so enchanted that they stop in the middle of the road and gaze at their surroundings, without any cognizance of the other humans around them.

Contrast that to Europe. Americans that visit Europe on vacation specifically do bucket list their way through overtly common lists of tourist hellholes, traveling at absurd speeds, trying to see it all. Why? Probably it has something to do with the idea that they won’t be there again, so why not see it?

It is strange to think of Spaniards being carefree in Spain, Americans being enraptured by nature in the West, and Americans acting like lunatics in Europe. Do Europeans scurry around the USA on vacation? Possibly. They often report seeing more sights than Americans have seen in America while on a mere three-week vacation.

What’s the lesson here? I don’t know; this is a blog, so I just ramble. I thought the lesson was to slowly massage the minds of my eager readers into buying my books.

North of Ferrel

Lagoa de Óbidos

Out to sea…

Miradouro do Facho

Nazaré, home of some of the biggest waves in the world (up to 100 feet). Obviously not happening today.

Praia da Gralha

São Martinho do Porto

Salt spray. It comes all the way up to my airplane at 800 feet above sea level and coats it in flight. 

Wave at Nazaré

Rainbow, south of Peniche

Border of Leiria and Lisbon District. Districts are the closest thing to provinces in Portugal. In my opinion, it looks like Ireland this time of year.

Same place looking toward Peniche.

Consolação. 

Baleal, a renowned surfing destination.

Out to sea again. Truth-in-blogging: I actually am near the beach, just pointing the camera out to sea. There is no way in hell I would fly out of glide range. I don’t like flying over water.

Splash. Baleal.

Cabo Carvoeiro. Waves broke the windows at the restaurant 20 feet above the water a few weeks ago. 

Peniche.

West of Boavista.

Praia do Porto Barril.

Porto Novo.

Book #14: The First 100 Days: Flying in La Cerdanya

Supposedly, the concept of a blog for authors is to “engage with the reader.” The experts tell me that people want to hear all sorts of blathering and “personal interactions,” to make followers feel special, like they have some sort of backstage access. I think the whole thing is odd, though I certainly don’t mind the occasional esoteric fusillade railing against incongruities in social norms. In keeping with this “engage with the reader” bit, I’ll share some hot air about my book publication.

#14 was done a while ago, and I am officially letting my blog readers in on it, months later, which defeats the whole backstage access theory. I’ll let you in on a secret: #15 has been on the market too (it’s on Amazon, held under wraps, of course), and I am measuring 4cm dilation for #16! Don’t tell anyone.

If one cannot tell, I find the idea of announcing the arrival of a book as somewhat existential. I put it on the site and forget about it, and then realize: “Oh, I should probably send a note to the people who have bothered to express specific interest in my work.”

This latest title “The First 100 Days: Flying in La Cerdanya” is a slightly new subject template, where I chose to show 1-2 photographs of each of my first 100 flights in Cerdanya. One always includes Cerdanya and related environs, whereas optional image #2 contains where I went on that flight, out of the area. It is noteworthy that I flew 100 times in less than a year, which is a bit of a deluded, fanatical obsession, but I digress.

I could try the whole poor fundraiser angle. For every book that is sold, I get enough royalties for 6 minutes of fuel, which is so financially unappealing that I wish I didn’t calculate that quippy factoid.

The link below will go to the book page on my site, which will link to Amazon in the USA and Europe.

 

 

 

Flight: Spain, Portugal: 2 of 2: Crossing Iberia (The Rest of the Story, Part II)

Since my highest concentration of sardonic witticism lies in the image “labels,” I’ll skip the amorphous blob of words and cut to the chase. Please see AOPA post for the story behind the friendly visit by Spanish paramilitary police.

Somewhere in Extremadura…

Embalse de Cazalegas

I haven’t figured out what species these trees are. Cows graze beneath and crops are raised beneath also. I suspect they are cork oak, or the tree that wild pigs feed on, get shot, and then become Iberian ham.

Extremadura. Cloudy, so not the best day for photos, but otherwise good to get the plane to yet another country.

Spring flowers.

Lagartera

Embalse de Valdecañas (aka middle of nowhere)

These markings repeatedly puzzled me in flight.

This lies in the middle of absolutely nowhere and lacks any indication as to its use. No crosses, no rigid gates, no signs for tourists. It seems decently maintained enough.

Parque Nacional de Monfragüe, infrared. Glare was getting excessive with visible spectrum.

Customer service visit by Spanish paramilitary police to make sure my time in Spain is going smoothly. “An American! Let’s get the bastard!” Full story on the AOPA post. 

Casar de Cáceres

Donkeys!

Explanation as to those bizarre markings in the field.

Strange trees.

Wyoming…or Extremadura? I’d love to do a focus group test and see what people choose.

Infrared.

Vaquitos.

Good use of stones: permanent fencing.

Hmm….something looks strange. [Look down at iPad] Hey, we’re in Portugal! Country #7 for the Cub!

Eucalyptus trees.

Same thing…in infrared.


Orchard.

Eucalyptus trees, infrared. Getting near the coast as haze increases and temperature drops.

Óbidos. Medieval tourist hotspot.

Atlantic Ocean! I made it here alive….

Flight: Spain: 1 of 2: Crossing Iberia (The Rest of the Story)

For those who have read my March 9 AOPA post, these are the photos that were missing; i.e., the rest of the story. For those who have not read the AOPA post, I suggest doing so as the story of crossing Spain into Portugal is told. As for why there is a bunch of rambling below, well, you’ll have to skip the normal routine of ignoring what I write for favor of pretty pictures if one wishes to understand the content.

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of photographs.” That is how one person who actually reads my stream of literary emissions had to say about it (particularly when he was getting my blog in his inbox and not a bunch of bean counting that he wanted instead). In this particular installation of mania, I will dive into the sticky subject of expatriate living.

Previously, I have railed against my lifestyle as appearing like the archetypal “travel.” Those who wander like discerning, cultured, and unique individualists prefer to not be identified as a “tourist” while at the same time enjoying traditional social presumptions afforded to those who have connoisseured a list of curated destinations. In other words, behaving like a tourist but doing it “differently.” As one would expect, I don’t fit into that category, of course, even though it looks like I do. I have an airplane, which makes me different, or snobbishly supremacist, or both, depending on from who’s perspective.

Now, moving on to another thing that I am not doing that I am actually doing. It has come to my attention after some recent saline-infused coastal musings that expatriate living is traditionally a binary prospect. One either lives like their home culture or the culture of where they live at present while abroad. I have observed many other American expats, and while it is almost impossible to shed a strong accent while speaking a foreign language and other indications of one’s point of origin, I can see that a number of them are fully adopting, or trying to adopt, the local culture. Almost all of them have something they do not like about the United States, and are willing to state it as one of the primary reasons for living in whichever country they are in. Naturally, one would come to the conclusion that there is something so overwhelmingly negative for some people in their home country that they are ditching living there and adopting something else.

Curiously, I have run into a number of Europeans in country outside of their own, and many of them are preaching why the new European country is so much better than the old. Then there was a Portuguese pilot, who used to live in Africa, who asks himself what he is doing living in Portugal…..?

That led to a perception that maybe the matter in question is not how good America or any other country is, perhaps it is a person’s native vs adopted country. It seems that many who leave their native land find themselves in a binary decision between the two, clearly opting for the adopted if they are self-professed happy expats. That lends a further question, what are people leaving in their home country that is better elsewhere?

For those who love travel, the thrill of the wander is enough. As someone who is seemingly completely lost, I can attest that travel is a part of expat living…to a point. Then a new place becomes home, and the initial travel element recedes significantly. I find that it really is a question of a way of life. I would say a country, or a culture, though I think it is more than that. Some countries — law, culture, language, and economics aside — have very specific weather and geography, which strongly favors one lifestyle and may outright prohibit another. Are there skiers in Algeria, or beachside bars in Finland? For someone born in a country that has a way of life that prohibits the individuality of a person in question, one can understand why a new country is adopted.

So, naturally, one would ask what I am looking for outside of America, to which I reply that I am not being like everyone else (of course, even though I am doing what other expats do), and I have a wonderfully accented spice of cogent individuality that drives my enviably eclectic decision making. One way or another, I am sure I will have more to say at some future point.

Cadí-Moixeró (Would one expect anything less?)

Montserrat. Yes, I know. Repetitive beauty. May I suggest other American aerial photographers in Catalunya if you’re not happy?

Riu Segre, infrared. I figured out how to get the colors to behave better.

Inversion along the Pre-Pyrenees.

Serra Montsec

Border of Catalunya and Aragon.

Entering the plains, infrared.

The plains, which then become the desert. Its a little less severe as its winter.

Hill north of Zaragoza, infrared.

Ebro River valley, west of Zaragoza. Strong headwind.

And fire….

Moncayo ridge on the south side of Monegros. Wind mills = wind.

Tierga. I am sure most people will recognize the name.

Somewhere in the middle of Spain.

Somewhere else in the middle of Spain.

Embalse de Pálmaces

Hills right next to Embalse de Pálmaces.

And hills right next to the hills right next to Embalse de Pálmaces, infrared.

Beleña de Sorbe, another famous place.

Alright, this is just NE of Madrid and I am sick of looking it up.

Infrared, for the visually daft.

Madrid skyscrapers in the distance, directly north of the city. Throne of Mariano Rajoy, oppressor of Catalunya or defender of Spanish pride, depending on whether or not you are in Catalunya.

Embalse del Pardo

Suburbs of Madrid. Ugh.

One hell of a cross.

En route to Casarrubios for the night.

Flight: France: Limoux, Autumn Wine Country

Limoux is a tiny little nothing that comprises the nearest name for the farthest reach of this two hour flight. It was a section I had not yet wandered to: out of the French Pyrenees and descending down into wine country yet in the direction of Toulouse in lieu of the Mediterranean. For many reasons, driven mostly out of emotion, I hadn’t done so yet. Perhaps it has something to do with being in France, or the climb to 6,500 feet only to descend down to 2,000 to then climb back to 6,500 to descend to 3,609? Or it might be that the climate and wind is entirely different there. Perhaps it’s the entirely rugged, canyon-filled terrain? Or to top it all off, it’s in sort of a never-never land on Google Maps, with a lot of that quadrant clouded in on satellite shots.

Nonetheless, it was time to go in late October.

It is pleasant now to consider autumnal harvests and the rejuvenating gathering process of the year’s philosophical fruits. As of this moment, we are buried under tremendous amounts of snow and have been experiencing temperatures down to -9F, creating a wholesale change in how one’s environment is viewed.

The funny thing about the area in question is that a local Catalan explained to me how the French view this area of France (and Spain) as the “culo del mundo,” the “ass of the world.” It is the Iberian way of calling it an armpit, yet I find the scenery pretty.

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Donezan

Sarrat de Canada

Above Le Clat

Cailla

Wine Country

Beginning the ascent back….

La Serre – that’s original…

Chateau de Puivert. Sounds a lot like “Pervert Castle.”

French highway D16, like that matters to anyone. Taken directly over Camp Marcel.

Sneaky little plateau surrounded by rugged terrain. Taken over La Benague.

La Rebenty river down in that gorge.

Entering the Val du Capcir.

Now a few in infrared, the old camera. Ruisseau de Salvanières, on the way down.

L’Aiguette

Wine Country.

Beginning the ascent…

Somewhere on the way up…

Val du Capcir.

Mont Louis / Coll de la Perche

Flight: Spain: Castejon de Sos

Was it push pins on the map, the mystical allure of an airfield I probably should avoid, or my list of Pyrenees peaks I needed to chip away at? I can’t even remember, as the flight was in the throes of passion of Catalan independence. It was a beautiful fall day, and this was a bit of a neglected corner of the central Pyrenees. That, and there was one silly peak that taunts me from a distance as well as on Google Maps. It was time to check it out.

The flight out was fine, as was the climb up to 11,000 feet. From there, it was a classical hop between peaks and glaciers over 3.000m (I am doing a book on the 3.000m peaks, among other things). From there, I had to get another look at Pico Aneto, the tallest peak in the Pyrenees again, this time from a few new angles. A host of sub peaks awaited, all of which I had plenty of time to enjoy, as I needed to descend from 11,000 feet to 3,000 feet down to Castejon de Sos, and it takes quite some time in this airplane.

The landing there was truly special. I could not make out a windsock. Winds were out of the north at altitude, so I came in for a right-hand pattern on the northeast facing runway. Still way too high, and with terrain on three sides, I did a corkscrew over short final, blazing my way in skimming the tree tops. As I got the Cub to descend below tree line, careening by horses grazing next to the field (with no fence to block them), something felt very wrong. I was screaming way too fast, and the field was way too short. I gave her full power as I realized the wind was a tailwind, which is grotesquely unsafe in such a short field.

Climbout was another story, with terrain on all sides. I made 250’ AGL, pulled a 180, slowed the airplane down, and wedged between tree branches, over some bushes, and over a dirt pile. I only used half of the field, stopping well before the horses, and taxied back to a piece of grass to make my fuel transfer.

As that was in process, I noted a commotion behind the airplane. First it was a few dogs, then a few sheep. I lifted my head to look, and a shepherd holding two dead rabbits was coming through with at least 200 sheep and 4 sheep dogs. One of them, a Great Pyrenean breed (how ironic, deep in the tallest part of the Pyrenees), took a special liking to me and tried to get me to come along with the herd. Eventually, they all wandered to the runway, where they crossed/grazed with the unfenced horses, not giving a hoot that it was an airfield.

Takeoff was fine, though I wouldn’t want to lose an engine, or I’d eat a birch tree. I corkscrewed out of the valley and the flight home was a classic late afternoon autumnal passage.

Sheep that don’t want the shepherd…

Nefarious peak that taunts me is in the center horizon.

From whence I came. Normally I overlook this area as massive peaks lie to the left, making this an afterthought.

The peak again. Out of Catalunya now and into Aragon.

Infrared (old camera).

There’s the damn thing. 

The other side of it, as it connects with higher Pyrenees terrain.



Still only at 9,000 feet….

En route to 11,000 feet….


I think this is the French border.

France to the left…

A glacier on the French side. A bit windy up here.

Commencing descent into the valley below…

Enigmatic textures.

Valley of Benasque

Much lower, and still much more to go….

Looking left…

Looking right….

Foolishly thinking I am pretty far down. Much more to go…

Aeronautical shepherding.

About to takeoff…

Airport/sheep pen/horse grazing patch below.

Riu Segre. Back in the land that wishes to distance itself from Spain.

Southeast of La Seu d’Urgell.

Cadí-Moixeró

Flights: Spain, France, Andorra: Mid-Winter Musings

It is only a matter of time before someone engaging in the self-imposed lifestyle of aeronautically-themed expatriate nomadic exile would eventually have to face this philosophical question: what exactly is going on here with all of this seemingly exploratory activity? I can only begin to answer the question be reverting to an egocentric cultural genesis of this sort of thing: growing up as a “local” American.

America is quite obviously an enormous country filled with incredible natural diversity. That reality is mated to a pre-existing frontier mentality, where the taming of the West has only happened to any modern and great extent within the last century, most pronounced since the development of the interstate system, air conditioning, and a subsequent improvement in telecommunications. One would note a historical inflection point in American history after WWII, where these things converge to make the crossing of the country something that doesn’t take weeks or involve taking one’s life in their own hands.

It is imprinted in the US passport a quote from a past president, something to the effect that America is all about what lies over the hill, and what untamed wilderness remains to be explored, exploited, enjoyed, or subdued. When I was young, I distinctly recall the general disposition of the American West and California as being something people aspired to achieve, as it was sort of a universal appeal, where that same West called each person at least to make a pilgrimage before they die and see such incredible, spiritual vastness.

By the time I got around to heading west, the world was a far more interconnected place. I could hop in the car and arrive in Colorado in two days, scheduling conference calls on my mobile phone (and billing clients), while sipping Starbucks….in the rural Midwest. No longer was it necessarily an achievement to arrive somewhere and see it, it was an achievement to pay the rent in a remote town that cost triple a mid-size East Coast city. No longer was it the spiritual vastness; it was the spiritual vastness without hordes of tourists ruining the place.

Obviously we still crave the American sense of frontiersmanship, yet we have overrun our frontiers and now have turned vast wilderness into overpriced hunting ranches….owned by hedge funds. Ok, so off to Europe it is.

Europe, as one can imagine, is a cultured pastime to Americans. It is a sign of sophistication, elite adventure, wealth, and all around pugnacious supremacy to travel to undiscovered destinations in Europe, as opposed to the decidedly middle class throngs that go to….ugh…Disney World. Maybe that was the case 100 years ago when it was expensive and difficult. Now? With $10/day roaming, and a $500 concentration camp class airline ticket, the masses can come here from America, pontificating about a “glorious Bordeaux” they sipped while in France ($5), while posting on social media the trappings of their new life as a global sommelier. But wait a second….aren’t we seeing the same thing that happening in America: the mass production of something that used to be rare?

To make matters more complex, there is this sneaky little idea that Europeans do not find Europe to be the capital of supercilious imperiousness. To them, wherever they live is…gasp…home and they too wish to travel on holiday to enjoy something else. However, they are traveling and not exploring an undiscovered continent. If they wanted to do that, they would go to Russia, and well, that is not #1 on the list. So what is going wrong here?

I would guess there is a difference between travel and exploration, between only knowing one’s own locale (wherever that is) compared to the discovery of the rest of the world (wherever that happens to be). At one point, I was a little kid chasing his grandfather’s airplane in a county with more cows that people. I didn’t learn that foreign languages even existed until I was 6. Now? I am flying a similar airplane in a valley in Spain with more cows than people while speaking one of those foreign languages, enchanting myself and my American blog readers, while equally enchanting Spanish pilots telling them about Colorado.

Europe is not a mystery to Europeans. Hell, every square mile of America has been measured and mapped. There isn’t a frontier to discover anymore in the western world of any great significance; the frontiers are inside us, and are really a function of relativism of our geographic origin point with its associated socio-cultural norms to the rest of the world.

With that out of my system, a few photos attacking the Pyrenees with my pile of cameras, enjoying the mid-winter snow and admitting I have developing a need to go out and attack something with the airplane, as its getting too familiar around here.

Puigcerdà, with the Val du Carol, France in the background. Those mountains are beckoning….

Looking at haze layers toward Moixeró.

Barreling toward the cloud layer as the sun is going down. France with Andorra in the background.

Puigpedrós. Definitely going there!

Andorra again.

10,000 feet…now above the cloud layer looking into Andorra.

Sunset tones while descending.

A few from the same flight with 590nm IR, no channel swap. 

Hey, I’m figuring this thing out. Note the green trees. It comes off the camera that way, despite IR spectrum.


Puigpedrós, from below.

Two days later….Masella.

The eponymous Montserrat.

Ski tracks.

Mid-winter Cerdanya.

Same flight, now in IR. This image is Urús beneath Masella, 590nm IR, straight off the camera.

And channel swapped. This is what IR photographers have in mind, as the blue sky is more realistic. The problem is going from green pines to yellow pines is not, though I like them both really. Its a neat way to see the world. The next series will be identical images raw and swapped.

Ascending Masella…

Looking back at Cerdanya.

West slope of Masella, looking into Catalonia’s hinterlands.

This is self-evidently Cerdanya, so smugly stated after lecturing about the exoticism of unknown locales.

On final approach.

Flights: Spain: 590nm Infrared vs 830nm Infrared vs Visible Spectrum

I really didn’t think the day would come like this, but it did. I got bored with aerial photography – too repetitive. So…. I bought another infrared camera! This one is 590nm wavelength as opposed to my existing camera, which is 830nm. 830nm is mostly black and white, with a touch of blue if properly channel swapped. 590nm allows for black and white plus yellow, which is normally reserved for foliage. I would end up with permanent autumn, which is a majestic season, so I was sold.

Last May, the camera came pretty quick with a small bill from customs. This time? All hell broke loose and a flamenco dance of paperwork ensued with Madrid, resulting in an equally small bill from customs, though laden with more pieces of paper to make everyone happy. The camera arrived precisely as my airplane was out of service, so my alleviation of boredom became an exacerbated case of coitus interruptus.

Finally, I was able to haul all 4 cameras up into the airplane and try some test shots. Initial results are mixed. 590nm is much more sensitive to overexposure, whereas 830nm is practically bulletproof. Blue is overkill right now on 590nm, and I haven’t figured out how to selectively tone down the blue hues in certain areas, and will probably have to whore myself by paying for some training in Photoshop, as selective color desaturation in a limited area is a more elevated task that I cannot due in Lightroom. The bottom line is that winter is not the greatest for any infrared photography, and the visible spectrum wins the trophy. As I get a chance to descend into the lower Mediterranean forests, I am sure the 590nm will begin to show some interesting results, equally as much as spring will probably be quite a treat. Some comparative imagery is below from initial flight tests.

First flight: visible. Obviously not the greatest day for photos.

First flight: 590nm.

Note light sensitivity in the cloud. This is worse than visible, whereas 830nm is better than visible. 

Second flight, visible.

Second flight, 590nm.

I do like how it shows the shadowed pines so brightly, though the washed out tones are going to require some practice and tuning.

Third flight: visible spectrum.

Visible again. Clearly it snowed.

830nm infrared. Note a tiny bit of blue in the upper right, otherwise dull.

And 590nm infrared. The snow comes back blue, of which I severely desaturated. Almost zero yellow to be found anywhere. 590 actually comes back brighter than 830….

Flight: Spain: Delta de l’Ebre

This flight set my record for maximum photographs taken in one day: 5,102. Cycling between three time-synced cameras, it was a quite a dance in the cockpit all day, flying down to Reus, refueling, then to the Delta, back to Reus for fuel, and then home. I had the joy of flying over five miles out to sea to avoid restricted airspace (I don’t like overflight of water), and had a cornucopia of microclimates: mountain waves and turbulence leaving the Pyrenees, pleasant temps in the rolling Mediterranean hills and forests, followed by an inferno on the ground in Reus. Föhn winds were in full force, which then collided with the sea breeze over the Delta itself, causing temps to come down again, followed by a literal wallop into the land air mass when I impacted the convergence point near the shoreline again. On the way home, the coastal air mass interacted with the Pyrenees, creating a massive wall of clouds towering into the sky, though I was able to sneak through a hole at 9,000 feet over Cadí-Moixeró and wedge home.

For the perceptively gifted, one may note that the images were taken in summer. “Is this schmuck that far behind?” August and later September snowfall upset my workflow, and then there was that whole referendum thing in October. I am recouping key flights that I missed in between these noteworthy events so I can, I don’t know, get on some sort of compulsively precise schedule.

Mountain waves – La Cerdanya

Montserrat, infrared.

Mediterranean hills between Montserrat and Reus

Parc Natural Els Ports – fresh up here, hell on the left horizon.

Descending toward the coast.

Reus Airport – hotter than hell and all of the staff could care less about refueling. Lovely jet in the background.

Mediterranean, infrared. Kind of bleak looking.

Visible spectrum. Costa Daurada (“Gold Coast”).

Won’t be landing on the beach if the engine quits. Why do people pay premium prices to vacation like sardines? Prison is cheaper.

Heading out to sea to avoid nuke plant. Not particularly thrilled.

Fish farms.

Approaching the Delta de l’Ebre.

Mussel farms.

Rice farms on the delta. In would be hilarious if the locals shared cultural characteristics with Louisiana bayou dwellers, though I doubt it.


More mussel farms, west side of Delta.

Infrared salt evaporation ponds.

Salt evaporation ponds.

More rice nonsense.

Sod farm with rice and the Ebro River behind it.

Ebro meets the Mediterranean, infrared.

Right here I smacked into the land air mass, resulting in a rapid 300 foot ascent.

Tarragona port facilities, infrared.

Tarragona

Windsurfer.

Tarragona.

Tree.

En route home.

Cars. This is literally practically in the middle of nowhere.

Entering the Pyrenees.

Oh, that wall of clouds…

Sneaking over Cadí-Moixeró.