Close encounters of the aviation kind

Here’s a fun video of a Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter closing in on a light cargo plane that was being used for air-to-air photography.  The big fighter simply can’t fly slowly enough to keep in formation with the slower plane, and eventually has to break away – but in the process, the photographers get some spectacular shots. I’d have been rather nervous, watching that fighter closing in on me like that! Peter

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The mane attraction

Here’s a lovely image (found on Gab yesterday) of a male lion with a truly magnificent (and unusually dark) mane. Lions are usually thought of as the only members of the cat family with a mane, but there must be a recessive gene or two in other cat populations as well.  Our farm cat, Ashbutt, has a lot of Maine Coon in his ancestry, and he unquestionably has a mane.  Being all black, it’s hard to see unless one gets close to him – otherwise, he just looks like a very long-haired cat – but his mane is undoubtedly the same shape as the

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Almost the last of the breed: Japan’s Phantoms take their penultimate bow

Japan is one of only a few nations still operating the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighter in a combat role.  Last month, it retired the Phantoms of 302 Squadron, prior to re-equipping the unit with the F-35 Lightning II stealth strike fighter. Here’s an outstanding video tribute by 302 Squadron as it bade farewell to an aircraft it had flown since its establishment in 1974, 45 years ago.  That’s a long, long time to fly the same combat aircraft, but the F-4 has stood up nobly to its task, with periodic refurbishment and upgrades. There are two squadrons in the JASDF still equipped

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After 60 years, the F-4 Phantom is on the way out – but it’s still very impressive

The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II first flew 60 years ago.  It became the mainstay of the US Air Force and Navy, and was exported to countries all over the world.  It’s still in front-line service in Greece, Turkey, Iran, South Korea and Japan.  However, the last-named country is about to phase it out at last, after 50 years of service.  An F-4 squadron will be converting to the F-35 later this year. In preparation for the phase-out, aviation photographer Carl Wrightson and Rich Cooper, head of the Center of Aviation Photography, made a pilgrimage to Japan for a final photo shoot of the JASDF Phantoms.  The

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If you use Flickr, download your images right away

It seems that Flickr is reducing the storage provided to non-paying users of its facilities. The company said months ago that it planned to whittle free accounts down from a terabyte to only 1,000 images and delete the rest on Feb. 5. After that, if users wanted to post more photos to the site, they would have to purchase a Flickr Pro account that would run them $50 annually. Flickr announced these changes back in November as part of an overhaul to focus on paid subscriptions after it was purchased by SmugMug last year. But despite giving users plenty of time to

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A fascinating photograph

Found on Gab:  a ladybug covered in dew droplets.  Clickit to biggit. I’d love to know whether that shot was deliberately set up, or whether the photographer happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right lens.  Either way, it’s fascinating. Peter

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