I chase and photograph thunderstorms. Every thunderstorm that I can chase, I chase. Today I could chase as I was on an off day from work as a Boston Herald photographer. The storm cells that the weather radar showed just after 9am this morning, looked like a good possibility for me. I drove to Bayswater St. in East Boston and then to Morton St. in Winthrop, which gives a nice view of Revere. Photos of daytime lightning are very difficult to achieve, especially during haze and heavy rain, so this was not turning out too well for me. I did, however, notice the very turbulent sky above Boston and Revere. I snapped a few photos. Shortly thereafter I got a tip that Revere had a lot of damage near the lower Broadway area, near city hall. I called the Herald photo desk and then arrived at Broadway and Tafts St. in approximately 10 minutes. The extent of the damage was shocking. I started taking photos and then moved toward Revere Beach Parkway. There I saw several homes with rooftops blown off. It was then, after seeing the angle of the fallen trees and calling up a high school weather class memory, that I guessed it might have been a tornado that socked this area. If fallen trees are angled in several different angles, then most likely it was a tornado. If the trees are lined up in the same way, then it was straight line winds that tore through the area. Here are some of the cloud formations just prior to, and after the tornado, and also the damage caused by it. Please check out the Boston Herald for continuing coverage.
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Happy 34th birthday to Gisele.  On July 20, 1980 Gisele Caroline Bundchen was born. She has been the world’s most successful fashion model, an influential businesswoman, and a champion of the environment. But on September 21, 2009 I witnessed, and photographed, a more daredevil side to her, when Gisele, more than 5 months pregnant, took helicopter flying lessons in Marshfield,MA. Below are my exclusive photos from that day.

Gisele Bundchen takes helicopter lessons

Gisele Bundchen takes helicopter lessons

Gisele Bundchen takes helicopter lessons

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They’re not supposed to fall from the sky

When I was a child, maybe 9, my parents took my sister and me to Puerto Rico. I remember asking my parents what happens if the plane falls from the sky. The plane, in this case, was an Eastern Airlines Lockheed L-10-11. My dad said, and of course I’m paraphrasing, “they don’t fall from the sky!” We had an uneventful flight to most, but an amazing, creative experience for me, as this was my first flight. That flight got me hooked on planes. That’s right, from constructing model airplanes that next summer, to photographing a 747 flying “through” the moon last week, 40 years later, I had started and followed through with a love affair with all things aviation. When I am photographing these miracles of science at cruising altitude, that is 30-38,000 feet,  or 6 miles up, I always wonder where they are going and what they see looking down at my area as I look up at them. Yesterday, close to three hundred people were blown out of the sky by a missile. Three hundred passengers, including children, possibly on their first flight, ended up in a field, in a tangled mess in a region called Crimea. These planes, no matter what country of origin they have departed from, are secured tighter than a delivery to Fort Knox. The ground crews, security and all others involved in the safety of these planes, from what I have seen over the years, take it extremely seriously to secure the plane before, during, and after flight. That’s why it was so disappointing and sad that some shithead, with an agenda, shot down Malaysia Fl 17 yesterday. In words that might be used by a 9 year old, “what did they do to deserve this?”

A jetliner exits the East Coast of Massachusetts, over Nahant,MA. as the sun sets.

A jetliner exits the East Coast of Massachusetts, over Nahant,MA. as the sun sets.

 

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MassPort and FAA air traffic officials had their hands full today as at least 8 flights were diverted to Boston Logan due to thunderstorms over the JFK airport area. KLM Dutch, Pakistan International, China Eastern, Egypt Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, and Swiss were among the at least 8 that were directed to an area of the airport to await further instructions. The majority of the planes appeared to have kept passengers on the airplanes and not deplaned them. Most planes had to wait at least 2 hours before they were on their way again. Here are some of my photos of these rarely scene jetliners at Logan.
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I was the first media photographer on the scene of a collision involving two airliners on the taxiway at Logan Airport on July 14, 2011.. I was in South Boston when my car’s police scanner broadcasted the voice of a pilot of a large Delta airliner. His calm voice reported that he believed that his plane had just struck another jet. I sped through the Ted Williams tunnel and up to the roof of the Terminal B parking garage. There it was, in full view, 2 planes, one with a gash through it’s tail.  My photos were picked up worldwide after the Boston Herald’s usage. Here are some of the photos. The first photo was just about 8 minutes after the collision and it shows the larger “offending” jet, at left, although in this photo one cannot see the damage to the larger plane’s left wing tip. In the second photo, the larger jet is being moved, so it’s damaged left winglet is now visible with the mangled tail of the smaller jet. An interesting aside to this is that the larger plane’s winglet is still embedded in the tail section of the smaller plane.


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Photo sequence is of Air France FL 333, a Boeing 747 en route from Boston to Paris. Photos shot with a Canon 800mm F5.6 lens, with a Canon 1DX camera. 1/500th of a second at F8 at 1000asa (ISO). Camera’s mirror was in the lock-up position and camera was on a tripod. As seen from Winthrop,MA., at 9:08pm tonight as the jet climbed out of  4000 feet “through” the full Supermoon.
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I was there 20 years ago tonight, as I was working my night shift at the Boston Herald, when John Valentin recorded an unassisted triple play. He was so nonchalant that the photo I got of the play was not even worth putting up on this blog. I did, however snap this photo in 1995 at the request of Boston Herald baseball guru and all-around nice guy Steve Buckley. I dug up this photo on the occasion of  the 20th anniversary of  John Valentin’s unassisted triple play, July 8, 1994. From left, Johnny Pesky, Rico Petrocelli, Rick Burleson, Spike Owen and John Valentin.

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When fireworks “hit” the moon, near Boston,MA

Last night’s fireworks over Winthrop,MA were delayed for two nights, due to Hurricane Arthur. This was good luck for me as the moon was positioned perfectly above the fireworks. That would not have happened Friday night. 1/125 of a second at F11 at 100asa (ISO) Handheld lens at 200mm.

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I snapped this photo of the wife of James B. Carver, the man who was found guilty at the moment this photo was taken, November 1989. The 1984 Beverly rooming house fire killed 15 residents, making him at that time the perpetrator of the deadliest arson fire in Massachusetts history. As guilty verdicts were read Carver wept. Mary Carver, below, exploded, saying: “He didn’t do it! No!” as she collapsed to her knees screaming.


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Boston fire Lt. Steven Minehan died 20 years ago today.

On this date in 1994, Boston fire Lieutenant Steven F. Minehan, of Boylston street’s Ladder 15, died in a 9-alarm fire  in Charlestown, after he became trapped in a large warehouse as he searched for other trapped firefighters. I had been a staff photographer at the Boston Herald for almost 15 months that night when, police scanners broke the silence of what had been a quiet evening. What I heard on the fireground radio was even more disturbing. John Landers Jr., then night desk photo editor, also heard the initial call for help, and he dispatched me to the scene. Below are my photos from that night and from Lt. Minehan’s funeral. Over the years I have been lucky to be able to call Lt. Minehan’s wife Kathy a friend. RIP Lt. Minehan. The photo of Lt. Minehan, at bottom of page, is courtesy of Bill Noonan. 

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