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  #1  
Old 01-01-2012, 07:27 PM
Greg Arehart's Avatar
Greg Arehart Greg Arehart is offline
 
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Default New Years inspiration flight 1/3

Even though some of you were stuck in bad weather, it was perfect flying weather in the Sierras today. Julia and I went out airport spotting and just enjoying the day. Hopefully some photos to inspire those of you who were diligently working on completing your build!

APRS track here:
http://www.mail2600.com/cgi-bin/trac...-02%2001:43:21

We departed RTS just before 10 am local, headed for Truckee, passing over Stampede Reservoir, one of Reno's water sources (and given the lack of snow this year, we may need it all!).



Part of the day was for airport spotting, so our first look was the Truckee airport.



Past North Star ski area. Note that there's not much snow - virtually all the white you see on the slopes is manmade.



On across Tahoe to the south shore. A view of Fallen Leaf Lake (Lake Tahoe in foreground) and the south end of the Desolation Wilderness.



Next was the South Lake Tahoe airport. Again note the lack of any white on the ground. Very dry this year so far.



Next airport was Alpine County (M45).



Of course there's some mountain scenery along the travel route.



And this is the shortest aspect runway I've ever seen. Belongs to the Marines and is labeled as a heliport on the sectional. Landable in an emergency, since it is 1000 feet long plus some overrun, but the approach would be pretty hairy since it's in a fairly restricted valley.



More mountains, getting closer to the north end of Yosemite.



Much of the snow in these photos is left over from last year.



Part 2 of 3 follows.
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Last edited by Greg Arehart : 01-01-2012 at 10:39 PM. Reason: added APRS track
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  #2  
Old 01-01-2012, 07:30 PM
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Great Pictures.
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  #3  
Old 01-01-2012, 07:32 PM
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Awesome! Love flying out West!!
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  #4  
Old 01-01-2012, 07:39 PM
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Default Part 2

Our first stop was Lee Vining, just south of Mono Lake. Sure is a lot of heavy traffic going over this route! This is looking east at Mono with contrails everywhere. Note on the left side of the photo the shadow from the contrails.



Tioga Pass, the east entrance to Yosemite.



A rock glacier in the canyon that goes down from Tioga to Lee Vining.



The air was incredibly smooth for nearly the entire flight. Coming down into Lee Vining Julia took a full zoom telephoto (12x) of Mammoth Mountain Ski area, about 40 miles south.



Base to final turn for runway 15 at Lee Vining. Field elevation is 6800 here.



Contrail flower from the ground.



This may be the latest that Tioga Pass has ever stayed open. Lots of cars trying to be the first over the pass in 2012. Much nicer to fly over than fight the traffic. Of course the restaurant was closed as they expected no traffic this time of year.



On the tarmac at Lee Vining.



Departing Lee Vining, the tufa mounds in Mono Lake are obvious, and the water color spectacular.



And Julia's favorite photo of the day over Mono Lake on departure.



Part 3/3 follows.
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  #5  
Old 01-01-2012, 07:52 PM
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Greg Arehart Greg Arehart is offline
 
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Default Part 3/3

From Lee Vining (O24), we headed to Hawthorne (HTH) via the old mining towns of Bodie and Aurora. Here's an aerial view of Bodie, which sits at about 7500 feet and is typically snowed in this time of year.



And on over to Aurora, which is seeing new mining happening because of the price of gold. This is where Mark Twain spent a year in the mining and journalism business when the original town (now long gone) was booming in the 1860s.



Over the ridge and headed east it becomes obvious that we are in the rain shadow of the Sierras. The ground gets pretty dry and vegetation sparse as we descend into Hawthorne.



This is Betty Easley, the local airport greeter in Hawthorne. Whenever someone calls on the radio, she jumps in her car and drives (5 minutes) to the airport to make sure all is well. We had a great talk, ate our packed lunch in the airport lounge and just enjoyed the day. If you're up this way, be sure to stop and say hello to Betty. She also has several airport cars to get you in town to the casinos or restaurants.



Departing Hawthorne, one can see the thousands of bunkers. This was/is the Hawthorne Army Ammunition Depot. Makes for some dramatic photos in the desert.



Headed home we passed over Yerington (O43). The pit lake in the background is from open-pit copper mining over the past century.



North of Yerington, some fun geomorphic features.



And finally on home to RTS. About to cross midfield 8-26 we caught a view of the cordoned off area from the Air Races crash site (grandstands are to the right of the white box where Galloping Ghost crashed).



All in all, a great way to spend the New Year's Day. 2.3 on the Hobbs, almost zero turbulence, great views, and no traffic!

Cheers,
greg
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  #6  
Old 01-01-2012, 07:54 PM
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Thanks for the shots of Mammoth and June Greg - we're booked to go out there the end of the month, and have heard nothing good about the snow. Sure looks awful green.....
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  #7  
Old 01-01-2012, 07:54 PM
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Beautiful! Greg could you share photo equipment details and settings? My Nikon is aged and I am looking for affordable replacement.
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  #8  
Old 01-01-2012, 08:04 PM
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Greg Arehart Greg Arehart is offline
 
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Paul,

I suggest you re-route to the Pacific NW for skiing! (Unless we start getting snow soon). Virtually everything is manmade snow around here, and the weather report calls for continued dry weather for at least the next 7-10 days.

Vlad,

Our camera is an old Panasonic DMC-FZ5 (at least I think that's the model number). It has a 12x optical zoom and image stabilization (we got it for shooting wildlife during my sabbatical in South Africa in 2005). It has been a great camera, but I'm sure there are much newer, faster, smaller versions out there. I do generally have to do a bit of messing with contrast and brightness after the fact, probably because neither of us has really figured out the proper settings for some of the photography we do. Mostly it's just point and shoot kind of stuff.

Cheers,
greg
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  #9  
Old 01-01-2012, 08:15 PM
David-aviator David-aviator is offline
 
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Great pictures of your part of the country, Greg. Thanks to you and your wife Julie for the tour.
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  #10  
Old 01-01-2012, 09:23 PM
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Great photos and it just makes me crave our move out there even more. No snow at Mammoth? Looks like plenty of beautiful territory to explore, anyway. My nephew wrote yesterday saying they are playing hockey on Tenaya Lake! His daughter took some beautiful photos of the extraordinarily clear ice.

Thanks for sharing!
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