Day Off

Today I took a much needed day off.  Well, mostly off.  We headed out to the training hills bright and early.  Since it’s been more than four days since I last cleared for the mountain launch, I have to return to the training hills to reclear before I can head up for my elusive first mountain launch.

Unfortunately, there is enough fog to mess up the reclearing process.  Part of what we’re expected to demonstrate is our ability to hit a target.  In the heavy fog of the early morning, there aren’t any targets visible.  We spend a lot of time waiting.  First on the fog and then on the tailwind.  Eventually, I reclear, but when we arrive at the mountain launch, the wind is crossing it’s way over the launch pad.  I can’t launch in a crosswind until I have more experience.

So, we return home once more, me still safely in one piece, but with no mountain flight under my belt.  After doing a little work, I return to the flight park.  Not to fly but to help setup for the fund-raising event I’ve been helping plan for S.O.A.R.

If you happen to be anywhere near Lookout Mountain Flight Park tomorrow, the festivities start at 1PM with kids activities, a silent auction, artists booths, photo opportunities, and interactions with owls, hawks, and Osceola, the hang gliding bald eagle.  At 4PM, the birds from S.O.A.R. will educate and amaze us, doing things like fling over the audience’s heads.  At 6PM, there will be a dinner and beer with a live band.

It will be a spectacular event, especially with hang gliders taking off and landing in the background.  Guests can even purchase a ride in a tandem glider while they’re there.  I’m pretty sure this is the way St. Patrick’s Day was traditionally celebrated in Ireland, right?  Birds of Prey and Hang Gliders–isn’t Ireland known for that?

In any case, we’re hoping to raise lots of money to help rebuild many of the bird enclosures that are in need of improvement.

While we’re setting up for our big event, John arrives with Osceola.  He pulls him out of his kennel and we all take turns holding him.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to process the photos from today yet.

Instead, for today’s photos, I have a collection of shots from last night in the early evening.  I had the classic problem of an exciting but bright sky and dark foreground.  I did a lot of shots at different exposures, hoping to be able to HDR process them together into a correctly exposed whole.  I consider using my gradient neutral density filter, but it’s round and doesn’t line up with the horizon line properly.  I probably should have tried it anyway.

I’m disappointed with the HDR results.  In the end, I like the underexposed shots with minimal processing that show the most detail in the sky the best.  Call me old fashioned.

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