I have no problem with most of the flight directions airline crews give passengers, except for one. The order to turn off all electronic devices–“anything with an on or off switch”–gets in the way of picture-taking on takeoffs and landing. I have never heard the electronic point-and-shoot photography has even interfered with a plane’s avionics or brought down a flight, and I’ve seen landing videos shot right in the cockpits of big commercial jets, so I persist in the habit. Here’s an example from last Saturday: my Southwest flight from Oakland on approach to Portland airport. The image is looking southeast over Sauvie Island, just west of the Willamette River and the city. How do I know? I spent a while checking my images of the approach against Google Maps satellite images and online maps. I don’t know the area at all, and had to orient myself as to the direction of our approach–some later images corrected my impression that we were landing east-to-west; it was the exact opposite. That upside-down Y intersection at the lower left is where Reeder Road, coming from the left, meets Oak Island Road, coming from the right. I couldn’t find the name of that stream winding through the center of the frame, but you can see the Multnomah Channel, just west of its confluence with the Willamette, at the very top of the picture. Compare the satellite image of the spot.
In Portland on Monday evening, Pete took me on a favorite walk from his place in northeast Portland, up to Mount Tabor (two or maybe three facts he alleged on our stroll: Mount Tabor is an extinct volcano, and Portland is one of two cities that has an extinct volcano inside its municipal boundaries; the other is Bend, Oregon). Anyway, it was beautiful up there with the late twilight. Lots of people picknicking, walking, taking in the views; we happened upon one group sitting in a meadow, playing guitars and singing. We spotted the two guys above at a west-facing view near the summit. What got our attention was their smoking: they were seriously attending to smoking pipes. Of course, I wanted to capture smoke curling up from their inextinguishable briars. Alas, I couldn’t get an angle on my subjects that wouldn conceal my intentions. This angle was OK, though, especially after I noticed the little dog under the bench. (Below: Mount Hood, seen from the eastern crest of Mount Tabor.)