Archive for August, 2017

I was not planning on spending too much time, or thought, on today’s Solar Eclipse, due to a wrist fracture that I sustained covering the controversial protests on Boston Common two days ago. I decided I would try to set up my heavy gear in my Winthrop,MA driveway. With some help from my neighbor Ron, my set up of a Canon 800mm lens and a large tripod was complete with seconds to spare before the solar show. Stuart Cahill, a colleague of mine at the Boston Herald newspaper, had already made me an improvised solar filter for my large lens, and I had already obtained nerdy solar glasses for my eyes. I was amazed at how good the filter worked on my lens. I started to shoot photos every 4 minutes, or so, and was excited with what I had. There was one thing that I really wanted, though. I had expected that there would be an opportunity to get a high altitude airliner through the sun, or more correctly stated, through my view of the sun. I was not disappointed, though it came very late in the eclipse, and did just barely sneak into my view of the sun. I watched as one after another high altitude airliner, most flying from Europe to NYC, just missed the sun. I remember thinking that I wished air traffic controllers in Nashua,NH., would turn them just a little for me. It was getting late and clouds and haze were moving in front of my view of the sun. I noticed the flight tracking systems that I use, flightradar24 and planefinder, were showing an Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane, over the Massachusetts/NH border, and heading my way. The plane was at a flight level of 40,000′ and traveling at 446 knots. The Etihad Airlines plane was flying from Abu Dahbi to New York city. It was almost directly over Tufts University when I watched as the plane disappeared into the blinding rays of the sun. I shot a heavy handed burst of several photos. I only knew of my success as I looked at the back of the Canon digital camera a few seconds after the moment of impact. The spots on the sun are not dust, they are sun spots, or storms on the sun itself as I understand it. This was a once in a lifetime photo for me, on a couple of fronts. First, and most important, was the rarity of today’s solar eclipse. Second, this is the first time I have photographed an airplane thru the sun, as I usually concentrate my aviation photography on the moon and an airplane, as seen in my aviation photo link above. Also, this is the first time I have captured the A380 thru the sun or the moon. The sky is black due to the heavy filter I was using to safely photograph the sun.
For print sales

08/21/17-Winthrop,MA. With just a few minutes left before today’s rare solar eclipse ends, an Etihad Airlines, Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger jet, flies across my view of the disk of the sun en route to New York city from Abu Dhabi. Staff photo by Mark Garfinkel

 

 

 

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Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-154 flies over Boston

I have seen my share of unique airplanes over the skies of greater Boston in my decades of work as a Boston Herald news photographer. I saw a Russian surveillance plane, a Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-154, flying over Boston yesterday. That was a first. It all started Thursday when I saw a Washington Post story about a Russian surveillance plane flying low over Washington DC. That story piqued my interest. Yesterday, while doing assignment editor, photodesk duty at the Boston Herald, I saw a tweet from FlightRadar24. The tweet read: “stay with us for radar coverage of the Russian surveillance flight.” I tracked this plane from Dayton,OH to New York State to Warwick,RI where it then took a sharp right turn. I then noticed it flying a circle over Newport,RI and then headed directly north, toward Boston. I ran out of the Herald’s offices and onto Southie’s D St. and got in my car and drove to East 1st st. I looked to my left as I was driving and there it was, flying over the old Edison plant on L St. FlightRadar had it at a low 3600′. I had little time to grab a Canon 800mm lens, which had a 1.4 extender attached. I parked, jumped out of the car, and must’ve struck a curious pose to passers-by as I pointed my “bazooka” skyward. My only regret is that I did not have time to photograph the plane with the Boston skyline, to put it into context to where it was.
**Ed note** This is a sanctioned flight. The US is able to do it over Russia as well. The reciprocal agreement is called “Open Skies.” More from the Boston Herald. More here from the Dayton Daily News, where the plane is being housed.
More from CNN, with one of the first stories, over Washington,DC.

August 11, 2017- Boston,MA. An unarmed Russian jet, sanctioned to fly over the USA, is seen over Boston during the noon hour. Staff photo by Mark Garfinkel

August 11, 2017- Boston,MA. An unarmed Russian jet, sanctioned to fly over the USA, is seen over Boston during the noon hour. Staff photo by Mark Garfinkel

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