Monday, June 30, 2008


Well, I'm in New Orleans, LA (MSY), and having a nice time with my crew. Went out and laid by the pool until a massive thunderstorm decided to "rain on our parade". At any rate, we did enjoy a little bit of sunshine. While flying into New Orleans I always think about the horrible nightmare that hurricane Katrina caused to the people of this wonderful city. It appears that the city is slowly recovering, and hopefully in a few more years it'll be up and running even better than it was before. Mud bugs (craw fish), shrimp etouffe, blackened catfish, collard greens, friendly folks, etc...... all reasons to come and enjoy Louisiana!!!! I leave tomorrow morning but will be back soon!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I recently had the opportunity to fly to San Francisco (SFO). I decided to take a walk over to Fisherman's Wharf...always a nice thing to do. It was a bit blustery that day (in other words, nippy), but I needed the exercise anyway. The pier is always full of tourists and local "talent" trying to earn their living. So, it's always nice to see "rest and relaxation" taking place. This a shot I took of two seagulls that found that perfect place, opportunity, and time, to do a little R and R. Must be nice to not have a worry in the world. Refreshing perspective from two sea birds, isn't it?

Friday, June 27, 2008


Got a chance to go to the beach today. This guy going for a swim caught my eye and I had to get a shot of that HAIR!!!! For crying out loud, I don't think this guy has had a haircut since he was born. LOL It literally was down to his ankles and looked like a massive blanket on his head. I have a hard time keeping up with my hair as short as it is (it shows "flesh" for haircolor on my drivers license ;-) ), so this guy must spend either a lot of time or very little on his. Weird question or better yet, do you find a job with hair like this??????

Thursday, June 26, 2008


When people see my photos, many assume they've been "photo shopped". They can't believe you can actually take photos of airplanes landing practically on top of a beach, or 20 feet above someones head. Well, here's a small clip of an Air France Airbus landing in SXM. This is one of the few airports in the world where the planes literally land on top of you!!! It's not loud either since most of the aircraft are at idle when they're about to touch down. This is truly an incredible sight. You've got to make the trek to go down there. You certainly won't be sorry...........and you'll find out why I call it my favorite place to go! I asked someone else to film this for me on my "spare" camera while I shot photos of the plane landing. You'll see me in the last couple of seconds or so of the video. Enjoy the clip...........

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


One of my favorite pastimes is going to the beach and relaxing. But one of the things I hate about the beach is the inconsiderate people who seem to flock there. California has banned smoking on some of their beaches. I personally think it should be banned on ALL beaches. I get so tired of seeing smokers use our beaches for ashtrays. Yes, a FEW are considerate and use beverage cans for their ashtrays (I sincerely thank you), but they are so far in the minority it's not even funny. What's even worse is that if you say something to these people, they tell you to mind your own business and get out of their face. I once asked one of the beach cops if littering on the beach was legal and he said "no". I then asked why cigarette smokers had such leniency with their butts and he said that cigarette butts weren't considered "litter". Huh? I guess if I took an ashtray of butts and dumped them on his front porch that would be considered "okay" since it's not really litter? I took this shot yesterday at our beach in Hollywood. You can't even walk three feet without seeing three or four cigarette butts in the sand. Nice, isn't it?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Once again, an absolutely gorgeous sunrise greeted us upon our arrival into Newark, NJ (EWR)at 0530 this morning. This is the kind of stuff that makes flying an "all nighter" (redeye) worth it. The worst part though, is when the sun actually peeks above the clouds and says hello by almost blinding us! But in the end, it certainly is a glorious sight. I've attached a photo of our view from the cockpit. Enjoy!!

Monday, June 23, 2008


I often get asked what I do for five or more hours when I'm sitting in the cockpit on a trip. Actually, I think about a lot of things. Last night we saw numerous thunderstorms, and as we progressed towards San Jose, CA, (SJC) we observed the reddish/orangish glow and flames of many of the wildfires in California. It always amazes me at how insignificant we really are when I see the enormity of our country and the events shaping it. The thunderstorms, some of which are up to 50,000 feet high (approximately 18,000+ meters), are incredible. The lightning shows keep us occupied and mesmerized for what seems to be hours at a time. From our altitude we observed several fires which were over 100 miles away. I often contemplate my feelings for the animals and firefighters who are escaping, experiencing, and working to contain and snuff out these burning infernos, knowing that homes and lives are being destroyed in the process. I also think about the wondrous things I see...... the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the Golden Gate bridge, rainbows, the Northern Lights, and the thousands and thousands of miles of open expanse in our beautiful country. Believe me, our hours spent in the cockpit are not that boring, unless you WANT them to be!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

AUA........and the FLAMINGO'S

Flamingos are strange birds.......they sound like geese, their pink color depends on how much shrimp they eat, and they can sleep or rest in what look to be really awkward positions. When I overnight in another of my favorite places, Aruba (AUA), I always try to get a few flamingo shots that I think are appealing. Our hotel has a private island that has six or seven flamingos and hundreds of iguanas that seem to relish having their photo taken. I've attached a shot of a flamingo who decided to settle "half way down" for a nap. Kinda weird, isn't it? Check out some of my other flamingo shots at:

Friday, June 20, 2008


On a recent trip to San Francisco (SFO), I came across a small biker hangout. Some of the bikes were pretty nice, others, well, they screamed "look at me!! I've made it in life and want to show off!" I've attached a photo to show you what I'm talking about. Ever seen an alligator/Louis Vouitton seat cover on a bike? (Or anywhere for that matter?) My initial reaction? You've gotta be kidding me! I guess this individuals rear end deserves only the best, although it has to be a bit rough on the alligator part..... LOL Wonder what I'll see in Las Vegas tomorrow! Stay tuned......

Thursday, June 19, 2008


SXM (St. Maarten), offers some of the best airplane photo opportunities I've ever seen. No other place offers so much to the aviation enthusiast as St. Maarten does, and you get to play on the beach while doing it! Kind of like killing two birds with one stone, but everyone is having a great time and no birds are getting killed! :-) It's amazing that so much traffic flies into and out of this small island airport. And the airplane shots literally just keep throwing themselves at you while quietly saying, "take a picture of this, take a picture of that, here's a great one too, hey look over here!" I'm guessing that over the past few years I've probably taken over 3000 shots of airplanes flying into and out of SXM. Sadly, only a few ever make it past the delete button on my camera........;-) At any rate, I'm glad so many folks are letting me know they enjoy this blog and my photos. It certainly makes all the photos and blogging worthwhile!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


The internet has become an incredible creation and tool for communication. But deep inside this electronic and digital world, are people who make the things happen that we see and enjoy. My girlfriend, Maria, is the one who suggested and created this wonderful blog for me. She is sooooo talented when it comes to computers, and she devotes countless hours tinkering with this blog every day. She does the work and I sit in amazement and wonder how she figured it all out............ Each day she adds something new and interesting to this work of art. So, thanks a million for taking the time to promote my photos and thoughts Maria!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Printing photos has become one of my favorite things to do, but you have to do it right. If I print a photo and the colors don't look right, it is headed for the trash. (Usually a clog on the printhead). Sometimes I'll have to print a photo five or six times to ensure the quality is up to my high standards. I've actually had friends get upset with me for destroying what I thought was an "inferior" quality print, but one they thought looked "great". One thing I've learned, is that when you do things right the FIRST time, you save yourself a lot of time and headaches in the future. Nothing like having someone notice a "spot" on your photo that you missed because you were in a hurry. When you keep high standards for your photos, you wont be disappointed, and your work will be appreciated by everyone who sees it. Don't take shortcuts when printing your photos, or you'll only be disappointed in the end result. Blemishes, banding (stripes on the photo caused by the printhead), discolorations, etc., are all reasons to trash a print. No one likes "mediocre" work, so keep your standards high, do it right the first time, examine your prints THOROUGHLY, and enjoy the compliments when they come your way!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


One of the benefits of being an airline pilot is the spectacular views that we enjoy from the cockpit. Darkness rising from the east, monsterous thunderstorms, and incredible sunrises and sunsets with no buildings to interupt our viewing. The nasty weather in our nations midsection has been horrific, yet allows for great photos from above. I've attached a couple of photos of these incredible sights that were taken from the cockpit. One shot is of thunderstorms over the Peoria, Illinois, area, and the other is darkness rising from the east. I hope you like them.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Well, we finally made it to Phoenix (PHX) last night, 7 hours and 37 minutes after we closed the passenger door. We sat, and sat, and sat, and sat some more. Our passengers were incredibly understanding as we endured what seemed like endless delays. Summer isn't even here and the delays are already out of control. The sad thing was that THEIR WAS NO WEATHER to cause the delays!!! The controllers kept saying it was due to "traffic saturation"......even at midnight??? I don't think so. All I know is that this is costing the airlines an absolute FORTUNE!!! Several pilots asked the air traffic controllers what number they were for takeoff so they could judge when to start their engines (jet fuel being around $4.15 a gallon gets VERY EXPENSIVE when you're burning three gallons a minute for a small B737 at idle thrust!!! Now take a B777 or B747 and see how much THAT would cost!), and the comments that were coming from the controllers were not called for to say the least. One controller said he "didn't have time for that nonsense", another told the pilots that "he didn't do their job, so don't tell him how to do his", another said "it's your airlines credit card so don't worry about it" (a credit card that ALL airline employees are paying for unfortunately), another said to just "shut up and we'll call you in an hour"........................ What the controllers are failing to see is that this is literally helping to bankrupt the airlines, and WILL cost many of us our jobs. Interesting how their is so much "traffic saturation" at 11:00 at night when there never was before. All I know is that it's going to be a LONG, LONG summer unless things change. Maybe giving back the controllers some of the pay and benefits that were taken away from them might help................... Is anyone in Washington, DC, listening? You'd better be because your whole airline infrastructure is about to collapse, and then you won't have the airlines to blame it on. Sad thing though is that this ISN'T the airlines fault, but we sure seem to get blamed for it.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Well, I'm sitting in a hotel in RDU (Raleigh Durham, NC) and getting ready for our trip to Newark, and then on to Phoenix this evening. Supposed to be 109 degrees Farenheit (43 degrees Celcius) in Phoenix today, and 111 F (44 C) tomorrow!!! Wow.......... At least living in Hollywood, FL, near the beach gives me the opportunity to go cool off. Sure seems like the weather patterns have changed over the years. When I was a small kid growing up in Roswell, NM, we were LUCKY to get a half inch of snow every three or four years. Now three or four feet of snow is NORMAL every year! But the great thing about my job is that it allows me to escape the cold of the north for the warmth of the south in only a few short hours. While my friends are busy shoveling snow, I'm usually on the beach in SXM, or Hollywood. But it looks like I'll just have to settle for the POOL in Phoenix tomorrow.......................... See, their ARE some downsides to my job. ;-)

Thursday, June 12, 2008


A lot of time when I'm flying, I'm looking for nice shots that people on the ground don't have the opportunity to enjoy. It really amazes me the number of rainbows that I observe that most people have no clue are passing right by them. Whenever I'm flying past a rainshower, I always look for the suns position to see it if will award me the opportunity to get a nice rainbow shot. Here's one I took while sitting as a passenger while commuting to Newark (EWR) the other day. When you see how large this wonder of weather is, you begin to see how insignificant we as humans are on the scale of things.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

THIEF at the BEACH!!!!

Today while taking a few photos at the beach in Hollywood, I turned my back only to see a cold blooded thief stealing my Fritos................... It's amazing how you can't even turn your back for two minutes before things start disappearing from right under your nose. Luckily I was prepared and shooed the darn seagull away. Next time I'll bring my big plastic owl to help protect my belongings. Missed THREE massive waterspouts at the beach yesterday and today. RATS!!! Hopefully next time!

Monday, June 9, 2008


One of the favorite things about my Nikon 8800 is it's ability to "freeze" motion. If I go to the scene selection function, it allows me all types of programs to work with, literally making the camera a piece of cake for the novice. But because of it's 8.0 megapixel ability, enlarging photos (I've taken them up to 17x22 INCHES with incredible clarity) with the "freeze" speed produces GREAT airplane shots. Many of my airplane beach shots in SXM almost look fake because of their clarity and the ability of the camera to "stop" the motion. Taking the shots is easy, but getting the timing right is the hard part. Digital cameras have a lot of lag between pushing the shutter button and the picture being taken. With LOTS of practice, you can determine when and how fast to push the shutter button. I've captured wonderful sunsets, waves, and airplanes by practicing, practicing and practicing some more.

Check out my shots at

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Until recently, focusing a digital camera was a bit more challenging than most would think. How many photos have you taken with the background being sharp, but the object or person you were photographing was blurry? After taking photos with a couple of different digital cameras, I finally found out the "solution" to this problem. When taking a photo of an object or person, I try to find the largest mass of what I'm photographing, focus on that, and then move the camera to the position of what I want to photograph. In other words, if I'm shooting an individual at the beach, I'll point the camera at the persons feet (this tells the camera how far the subject is away instead of hunting for an accurate "distance"), hold the shutter button half way down (this sets the digital focus in motion and locks it on the "distance"), wait till the camera focus light turns green, move the camera to the persons face or body, and then take the shot. If you don't do this, the camera will assume you're taking a photo of the "whole area", and will focus on the majority of background. You'll get a nice sharp background, but blurry subject. Try it and see what happens. Your photos should improve dramatically. Here's a shot of my buddy Frank Boygos during his annual pumpkin party. I used the engine of the tractor as my point of "mass" for focusing. This kept him and the tractor sharp, while making the background a bit fuzzy. The pumpkin was going to be used for one of those really SMALL pumpkin pies. ;-)

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Wanna see something cool? Check out Maria in SXM (St Maarten) getting blown by a B-757. She HAD to do this. It's like a ritual in St Maarten to let yourself get a jet sand blasting at least once. She was a pretty good sport about it, although when you watch the video you get the idea she has NO clue what's about to happen. It's probably the last time she'll listen to one of my "good ideas". Enjoy the video clip.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Well, today was a horrible day for the stock market (down almost 400 points), GREAT day for the oil market (up over $10 a barrel), and absolutely a killer day for the airlines AGAIN. Good thing I have an "economical" car for my local running around. Actually, I walk almost everywhere I go while I'm home, so driving my Fiat 500 is kind of a treat and my way of telling the gas and oil companies that I can play their game. LOL Anyways, here's a shot I took of my little Italian run-around-car. (Very photogenic don't you think????) It's a 1970 Fiat 500L, the "L" standing for Luxor, or "luxury" edition. I guess luxury in Italy meant a fold back sunroof, because that's ALL it has. It's a great car to drive locally, and gets around 45-50 MPG with its two cylinder, 18 horsepower engine. It looks really good at the beach too.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Finally back home after a long night of flying. Flew the 'redeye' from Portland, Oregon, (PDX), to Newark, and then caught a 0625 flight home to Hollywood. So nice to be home. Had an order for some SXM photos from a gentleman in Fort Worth, waiting for me when I got home. Took the shots of him flying his small business jet into SXM, and he just happened to be staying at the Maho when my first officer started to tell him about me taking photos. I snapped a few of him landing his jet flying over Maho Beach. This is such a small world and it was a great little jet too!!! At any rate, I hope he enjoys his photos. It's always nice to have a photo of the plane you're flying when you're at the controls. If anyone out there just happens to be in SXM or flying into there when I'm overnighting, let me know and I'll try to get a shot of you landing..........for a 'nominal' fee of course. :-) Here's one of the shots.......

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I often carry two cameras with me. Why? Because sometimes one camera will capture the "moment" better than the other. Oftentimes I'll shoot the same picture with both cameras several times and select the best image. It's not always just luck that a wonderful photo emerges, but persistance. I continue to take photos of the same thing trying to improve that "great" shot. Digital photography makes this so much easier, and a whole lot cheaper too! Taking 10 photos of the same thing may seem a bit overboard, but believe me when I tell you that a small difference in position or camera settings can make a world of difference in the end product. For now, all I can tell you is to practice, practice, practice. Good shots will follow, but not without persistance and determination! Get the picture???

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Today I'll talk a bit about how I take what I feel are some of my better "people" shots. Whenever I ask someone to smile for a photo, they inevitably give the "fake" or '"forced" smile. Look at any of the photos you take when you ask someone to smile and you'll recognize it immediately. For some reason, many people do not like their photo taken, so it's natural for them to "goof up the shot". How do I overcome this? Easy......I act like I'm NOT taking the photo and they IMMEDIATELY loosen up. First off, when you ask them to smile, you'll notice the "force" and tension on their faces as they try to determine when you'll take the shot. At this point, I get a focus on them. I HOLD the focus (usually you do this on a digital camera by pushing the photo taking button HALF WAY DOWN, signaling the camera to focus, which will NOT take the picture......... most digitals work this way). I then look as if I'm not taking the photo even though I'm holding the camera EXACTLY where I would if I was taking the photo, in other words, I just move my head to the side and say something like, "okay, can we get a REAL smile?". The person being photographed will loosen up immediately since they think you're NOT taking the photo, you push the button the rest of the way down, and a great NATURAL photo should occur. I've been doing this for years and it always seems to get the best shot. Try this technique and see if it doesn't work for you. I think you'll be amazed at how well this works.


Here's a shot to show the "crane" and condo building going up that will mess up the great SXM beach shots.........

Monday, June 2, 2008


June 1st, 2008

Well, as usual, SXM was a great overnight. I just never get tired of that place. It's just so relaxing, and FRIENDLY there. Maria now knows why it's one of my favorite overnights with Continental. As high season winds down though, the airplane photo opportunities start to dwindle. Oh well, I'll just have to come up with something else to take photos of. My favorite airplane photo spot is slowly disappearing too. They are putting up some high rise condos behind the area that I take most of my shots from. Does that make sense? At any rate, instead of beautiful blue water behind the planes landing, you'll see a nice condo building. RATS!!!! Oh well, at least I got some nice shots before that happened. Had a little luck at the Maho Casino last night. Lost $60 before I decided to put my last $5 of the night in a quarter machine. Maria has fun playing up to a point........and that point was quickly approaching with my losses mounting up. So we decided to play 7 quarters at a time. On the second spin, we hit a bonus round which turned into a bigger bonus, and ended up with the nicest prize.......and that was worth $292 to us. So, we ended up almost $230 for the night. So...........nice overnight, nice winnings, nice weather, and happy girlfriend. What more could you ask for? By the way, if you go on vacation there, stay at the Maho Resort,( ) and be sure to tell Claire I said hello. She'll take great care of you!! Now, should I make an offer on that waterfront condo in Hollywood???????


May 31st, 2008

Well, I'm on my way to St Maarten. Looks like it's going to be a beautiful day down there. Maria took an earlier flight since it still had a few open seats. Lucky her, gets to enjoy SXM for an extra hour and a half............... Our flights are packed, so you take an empty seat when you can. She would have made my flight since we had ONE empty seat, but that's just too close to call. Luckily their is supposed to be a couple of empty seats on our return flight tomorrow, so Maria will hopefully get on. St Maarten is such a great little island and a wonderful place to be. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd certainly know where I'd end up..........and ALL my friends could come visit whenever they'd like!!