Yesterday the weather was particularly nice and the sky was blue, so I decided to go plane spotting. When I got to my spotting location for the day however, the sky changed dramatically. There was heavy pollution, and no longer was the sky blue. However, I was lucky in that the lighting was at least half-decent, so I was able to get usable shots. However, due to the pollution, contrast suffered severely and there is no background to my shots, other than a hazy sky. On the other hand, sharpness was virtually unaffected. I’m not sure if this is because of my quality L lens or the fact that I was shooting at f/8. I was expecting extremely soft images due to the pollution, but even the unedited files turned out razor-sharp.
Spotting on an polluted day? full post
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Back in November of 2015, Cathay Pacific unveiled their new livery, first painted on the 777-300ER B-KPM. It features a larger and “freed” brush stroke on the tail with the “Cathay green” covering the entire horizontal stabilizer as opposed to a small square in the middle. Moving forwards the aft-fuselage remains the same, while the front looks quite different. To begin with, the words “Cathay Pacific” are now written above the windows in a bigger and more elegant font. Further forwards, ahead of the forward-most door and behind the cockpit windows is another smaller brush stroke, again in the “Cathay green”. The awkward green strip on the nose is gone, and instead the faint blue ribbon that runs along the fuselage continues across the nose, very modern and simplistic.
Cathay’s new livery full post
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As part of its new brand facelift, Cathay recently (just a few days ago) implemented a new in-flight safety video on all of its flights. Dragonair, a subsidiary of Cathay, has a near-identical one, except the CX brush stroke is replaced with the KA logo. It’s a well-needed and timely update, as the original video is probably older that most of Cathay’s fleet. Damn. I do quite like the new safety video. It’s simple, modern, elegant, creative, friendly, and very suitable for Cathay’s brand facelift under their new slogan “life well travelled”.
Check it out here on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2s_AJySdS0
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So recently there’s been speculation that CX is considering re-configuring their long-haul 777-300ER’s to seat 10 abreast in economy in a 3-4-3 layout. This would reduce the seat width from 18.5 inches (in the current 9 abreast) to 17 inches in 10 abreast. For comparison, Singapore Airlines currently has 9 abreast with each seat being 19 inches wide. CX said that after surveying passengers, they were considering increasing seat density in economy and compensating passengers with perks such as in-flight WiFi and a snack bar.
I was flying back into HKG from SYX two days ago after a week’s vacation, Unsurprisingly, the flight (KA651, operated by A320 B-HSD) was delayed due to a late arrival of the aircraft that was the result of delays earlier in the day while the aircraft was flying other routes in the KA network. The delay itself wasn’t so bad; the frustrating part was that we weren’t given an estimate as to when the inbound flight (KA650) would arrive (as obviously it hasn’t otherwise there wouldn’t be a delay) or roughly when we can expect to board. I’m not sure if this is because KA ground staff at SYX didn’t know anything themselves or weren’t willing to tell us, however I was a step ahead of everyone else thanks to FlightRadar24. I was able to see at what time the inbound flight departed, where it was, and when it would arrive at SYX. It’s an awful feeling to be stuck at an airport with no idea how severe a delay is, so next time you’re in that situation, remember that FlightRadar is always your friend.
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As excited as you may be to charge up the camera and head for the airport for your first experience with plane spotting, I highly recommend first obtaining some background knowledge on aviation photography. Trust me in that plane spotting is not a lot of fun when you’re just staring at planes without a clue as to what’s going on.
I must admit. Aviation photography does seem like a pretty daunting hobby for anyone who’s looking the get into it. There are massive planes flying above you and a bunch of serious-looking dudes with fancy cameras probably twice the size of yours. And in the midst of all this one must do the best he or she can to not look like an idiot. It’s no surprise that many newcomers feel intimidated, as I did quite when I first ventured into the world of aviation photography and was running around with a tiny Canon Rebel SL1 entry-level DSLR and the crap 18-55mm kit lens (more on that later) firing away with the shutter button. But really, there is nothing to be scared of. What’s so lovely about the aviation community is that nobody gives a damn how big and heavy your camera is or how your photos turn out to be. Remember that in the end we’re here because we share a common interest in aviation, and that’s really all that matters.
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I get the feeling from time to time that people think aviation photography as a hobby or even aviation in general as an interested is extremely bizzarre. If you think about it, the idea of people obsessing over and taking photos of loud, gas-guzzling, flying metal tubes that most associate with cramped coach-class seats and general discomfort does sound a bit peculiar, especially when you consider the fact that most of us stand out in the sun for hours on end just for the sake of plane spotting. My answer is that planes can be beautiful, gracious, and full of character, not far off from animals or people. Once you gain an appreciation for all of the hard work of people all around the world and numerous breakthoughs that made commercial aviation possible, these astounding beasts and products of human ingenuity will no longer be just another, and somewhat unfavorable method of transportation.