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Flying Over the Holiday Season

 (DavidRaboin)

An airline pilot walking through the cold winter rain while looking for his hotel shuttle at O’hare Airport, Chicago.

Back at my regional airline I flew with a wily old bachelor captain named Dale. Every year, Dale would use all four weeks of his annual vacation allotment in December. He didn’t have a family. He wasn’t trying to be home for the Holidays. I asked him once, “Dale, why do you take all you’re time off in December?”

“December is when everything bad happens,” he said, “In December, the seasons are changing and you get those days-long storms with snow, rain, and sleet. And, all that weather happens when the airports are packed with holiday travels, families that travel only once every couple of years, they’re nervous, and they don’t know what they are doing. I don’t need that. I take December off and come back in January when the dry arctic air has set in, things dry out, and only professional travels come out to the airport.”

I think of Dale every year as I slog through the holiday season. In my career, I’ve never had the seniority to get time off in December.  In fact, it’s the opposite, with the airline’s heavy holiday schedule, I’m usually out working more in December that any other month. This year I was lucky and got Christmas Day off so I was home to see the kids open their presents on Christmas morning, but other than that one pleasant day, I’ve been out fighting the crowds and the weather for the past few weeks.

The other day, while lying on my hotel bed, lost in a haze of holiday flying, and mindlessly scrolling my Facebook feed, I came across this video of Hulk Hogan and Randy the Macho Man Savage. My grinchy spirit soared as I watched those coked-up, steroid-clowns steal 1960s hippy-acid culture and spin it into 1980s commercial gold. And, I was also a little jealous too. Oh, to shed my uniform and wear a different persona… This blog, and my writing, would be a lot more fun if it was done under an anonymous pen-name. I need a metaphorical Macho Man Savage bandanna. If I could just shed the responsible airline-pilot-dad bit…

Steam rises from a vendor's standing n Chinatown, Flushing, New York City (DavidRaboin)

A busy market on a cold winter night in Flushing, New York… I took this photo on my walk back from dinner during a LaGuardia overnight. We stay in Chinatown. 

Flight crews take notice of the short winter days and long nights. In winter, our work days usually begin before dawn and finish after sunset. Often, eating dinner means taking a cold, dark walk in an unfamiliar city. I take my camera and practice night street photography.

 (DavidRaboin)

I love flying into Palm Springs. To stay below LAX traffic , ATC makes us descend early and then level off just above the San Bernardino Mountains. Yesterday, the clouds split open and we saw a fresh batch of snow on the mountain tops. In the distance, you can see the Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree National Park.

Flying during the holidays isn’t all hardship and gloom. The low winter sun makes great light for aerial photography and snow adds some pop to the mountain tops.

a-nice-poster

Meeting De Aviation, Nice, France… Poster by Charles-Léonce Brossé… 

Many years ago, I had this poster hanging in my apartment. The mustachioed french aviator was my inspiration, my hoped for alter-ego who could shower flowers and happiness on an exotic coast. That’s what I hope my Instagram feed is, roses falling from the sky.

 (DavidRaboin)

San Francisco Bay, downtown San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, Oakland, and in the far distance my backyard mountain: Mount Diablo… After a front moves through clear arctic air means great visibility. If you look hard, you can make out the snow packed peaks of the Sierras along the horizon. 

Maybe if I had a selfie stick and a suitably wide-angle lens, I could make a picture of myself above San Francisco that is similar to that poster of the pilot over Nice? I’m kidding of course, but I admit that an interesting foreground subject makes a landscape image come to life. That old poster has more spark than this highly detailed photo.

The long ride across the prairie to Denver International Airport… The beginning of a long day of delays

We need all the rain and snow we can get in California. However, I wish this drought could be broken on days when I’m not scheduled to fly multiple legs through San Francisco. This winter we’ve seen an endless train of storms and rainy days in NorCal. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to perfect SFO weather delay speech, “Folks, Imagine if they closed several lanes on the Bay Bridge during rush hour, that’s what it’s like at SFO airport now. The wind is out of the south which means they can only use two of their four runways. It’s like they closed half of their available lanes. Now, air traffic traveling to SFO is backed-up throughout the country. Air Traffic control issued us a wheels up time of…”

 (DavidRaboin)

Speaking of the California drought, check out all that snow on Mount Shasta. That should help top off some of our reservoirs as it melts off this spring and summer. 

*All content created by David Raboin. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram. Order prints of the photos featured on this blog by clicking on the image or visit our website at photos4u2c.com Support this site by using one of my links to Amazon.com. Thanks!

Where I’m At

 (DavidRaboin)

The procession of winter clouds gave way to clear sky after several weeks of wet and snowy weather here in California. This is sunset above the Sierras yesterday evening. This view is looking south at the Mountains between Yosemite Canyon and Mono Lake. You can see Tuolumne Meadows where our family camped two summers ago

Yes, it’s been awhile since I posted. I took a break. This summer I kept busy writing an article for The Online Photographer. I poured my guts into that article and I’m really happy with how it came out (you can read part 1 here and part 2 here). Now, I am working on a book. However, saying that I’m working on a book still sounds ridiculous to me. So far, the book project consists of an incomplete chapter, a giant page of half baked ideas stored on my phone’s notes app, and a list of favorite words and phrases that I’m pilfering from songs and articles.

What about this blog? I hate to abandon it because I’ve invested so much time here and I think some of it is good content. The problem is I don’t have time to write a quality blog, the kind of blog that builds a readership. I know what a good post sounds like, I think I know how to write them, but I also know how much time it takes, and I don’t have the time. For a blog to thrive, it needs daily posts. For me, that’s impossible b

I only write during my overnights . It is impossible for me to write when I’m home from work. I have two kids and a wife who all deserve attention. We also have two big dogs, a house, and twenty different activities that we drive the kids to. My free time comes once a week on a long overnight, in hotel, and usually several time zones away.. I could spend that time holed up my hotel room writing or I could go out and take photos. Or, I could do what any other normal person does and relax, but I’ve never been normal.

Here’s my plan: I’m going to get back to posting here from time to time, but it’s going to be experimental, fun writing. No more obsessing over every word. This blog is going to be my writing warm-up zone and a place to post my latest photos. I’m also going to put up some really poorly produced YouTube videos about photos. About five years ago I went through a major shift in my photography where I loosen up my compositions and that opened up some space for the occasional happy accident. My photography got better, more interesting. I’m hoping a similar loosening here will improve my writing output. We’ll see.

As for the book, I will finish it. I must. I know I don’t have time to write a successful blog because that requires fresh material every day. A book, however, can be chipped away at here and there. And, the thing about a book is once it’s done it’s done and has value as a stand alone product. For a blog to work, you have to write quality posts day after day, if you stop they blog dies. Once my book is done, I can write occasional articles for real blogs, the popular blogs, and use those articles as a marketing vehicles for the book.

My goal isn’t to make money off a book, it’s much smaller than that. I just want to raise my stature in the photo community so that I can some day host photography clinics and have an occasional gallery show. It’s a long road, and maybe I need to find a faster car, but I might as well give it a try.

*All content created by David Raboin. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram. Order prints of the photos featured on this blog by clicking on the image or visit our website at photos4u2c.com Support this site by using one of my links to Amazon.com. Thanks!

Gulf Coast Thunderstorms

 (DavidRaboin)

We can see the storm clouds ahead on the horizon from halfway across Texas. These are my first thunderstorms of the year. The rough weather is stacked up along the Gulf Coast. We’re flying east, LAX to Fort Lauderdale, and the late afternoon sun is dropping behind us.

 (DavidRaboin)

All the way across the Gulf of Mexico we dodge the growing clouds.

 (DavidRaboin)

The highest clouds glow in the late evening light.

 (DavidRaboin)

It’s night by the time we reach the western shore of Florida. A bolt of lightning arcs between storm clouds.

*All content created by David Raboin. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram. Order prints of the photos featured on this blog by clicking on the image or visit our website at photos4u2c.com Support this site by using one of my links to Amazon.com. Thanks!

Spring in Portland, Oregon

 (DavidRaboin)

I took a long walk in Portland. The trees were budding and blossoming. So far, I’m loving my new Canon 24-70 f2.8 L II. After this long walk, my wrist wasn’t achy at all like it would’ve been with my old 24-70 version 1.

 (DavidRaboin)

*All content created by David Raboin. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram. Order prints of the photos featured on this blog by clicking on the image or visit our website at photos4u2c.com Support this site by using one of my links to Amazon.com. Thanks!

Shadows and Desolation

 (DavidRaboin)

Long shadows reach across a forgotten valley in East Central Nevada

I gaze down from the flightdeck on a barren mountain range that looks like a cracked jawbone left to bleach on the desert floor. It makes me happy knowing that The Great Basin is out there quietly waiting, ready to cover my tracks with dust and swallow me whole. That highway, the one you see in the cut in the mountains, it’s always an option.

 (DavidRaboin)

Alpine glow at sundown on the desert peaks of Western Utah

*All content created by David Raboin. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram. Order prints of the photos featured on this blog by clicking on the image or visit our website at photos4u2c.com Support this site by using one of my links to Amazon.com. Thanks!
Support this site by using our links to Amazon