Two nights ago while waiting to pick up my daughter from work at the Outlet Mall I saw some odd lights in the sky. Naturally I grabbed a video camera to catch it. I was sort of excited at first, thinking I might be seeing something unusual.
I don’t know exactly what they were, but I suspect they were “Chinese Lanterns” since they came from the general area where the “Boom City” fireworks stands are.
Coming through Everett this afternoon I heard a call on the scanner for a “body found in the water near Anthony’s restaurant, obvious DOA”
I headed down there to see if I could see anything. Not the best place to get a good shot but I manged to get a few minutes of video, unfortunately I had to use the “digital” zoom on my Sony TG5 to bring in the details so the image quality is not the best.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by Darren with Good Times Productions asking about my XP2 Quadcopter, he was curious if it would be possible to use it to get some aerial footage of an upcoming wedding he was shooting in Snohomish. Yesterday was the wedding, and I put it to the test, the results were pretty good, despite the 10-15 mph winds, I was able to get some pretty cool shots of this outdoor wedding. I had it up for probably a dozen or so flights, here is the best footage:
Like all first term Presidents, President Obama wants simply one thing- a second term. So with that in mind he made a quick cash run up the west coast this week to grab an estimated $8 million in donations. That may sound like a lot of money, but it adds up quick when you charge people $35,800 to have dinner with you, or $17,900 for lunch. But with the economy running this strong, who can’t afford something like that? Nobody would expect any type of favor in return for such modest donations.
Being a fan of aircraft I figured it would be worth a try to see if I could get some video of Air Force One and the various support vehicles and aircraft.
Unfortunately Paine Field sits on top of a slightly elevated area- so there are no vantage points from a distance. Your only hope is to get in close, and today the Secret Service attempted to make that impossible. Every access point was shut down, simple viewing locations behind the fence line were off-limits. One of the deputies I spoke with said that the Secret Service wants, “nobody to be able to view AF1 from the airport”. That makes it tough to get a good shot.
About 45 minutes before Obama arrived, a group of 7 helicopters arrived from the South: Marine Squadron One. They had two “Marine One” Presidential helicopters, and the rest appeared to be escort/gunship helicopters. They looked and sounded like something from the film “Apocalypse Now”:
At this point, a lot of folks started to show up where I was (south end of the runway near the DEM and old Fire Station). Parents bringing kids, Boeing workers, and just curious folks wanting to see the President land. I should point out there were no signs indicating the area I was at was closed, or off limits in any way. So people started setting up tripods, kids were getting excited and the anticipation began to build.
That all came to a halt when a deputy came up to the fence and told everyone they had to leave, and if they were seen again “it would be a problem”. His orders came from the Secret Service. So everyone had to disperse, absolutely nobody would be able to see Air Force One with their own eyes today. I pulled back and parked out of visual range of the officers. At this point King County’s Guardian One started to orbit the area.
I thought it was odd that King County’s Helicopter was being used at Snohomish County’s airport, rather than Snohomish County’s Snohawk 1 or even Snohawk 10. But this was clearly not a day to question authority. As I sat 100′ from the fence I was not supposed to look at, I listened to the scanner traffic. A couple things noted here: the Secret Service frequencies you can get off the internet work great- they are very active, but they are 95% encrypted so it’s pointless to listen. So I was listening to the PSOPS N3, N4 and Everett 4 talkgroups while I monitored Paine Field approach. A few minutes passed, and I heard Air Force One on final approach. At this point people began walking back toward the fence. The excitement began to build again. I grabbed my tripod and cameras and walked back toward the fence area and to what, I assumed, would be a certain death from the security detail.
To my surprise, I was able to actually get some decent shots of Air Force One as it made the turn at the end of runway 16R. I waited for the flashbangs, teargas and rubber bullets but it was remarkably calm. The sheriff’s deputies were looking at all of us (probably 30 or so) and let us get what we wanted- pictures. I grabbed some video as well:
After that I got the hell out of there. In talking with some of the other scofflaws who wanted to take felonious photographs of Air Force One, it was clear this was some of the most extreme security anyone had encountered. Several of them had been to other visits from AF1 and never had this type of insane restrictive security. I consider myself lucky to survive the event, and the officers who let us get these pictures deserve a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.
I had to make a quick trip to Longview today for a meeting. It was a real treat given the torrential downpour, standing water, accidents, and general crappy driving conditions. 9 hours of driving at an average speed of 40MPH. Made for a long day behind the wheel.
Rural Metro Ambulance running codeWDOT and WSP dealing with one of several accidents.
The mayor of Mount Vernon recently invited Fox News Commentator Glenn Beck (a Mount Vernon native) to return to Mount Vernon so he could “give him the key to the city”. Some groups felt this was not the best decision and vowed to protest it, and supporters also planned on being there to show their support. These kinds of events often have entertaining signs and colorful people so I had to run up there to catch the show. I was not disappointed. The following photos are just random shots of signs and people that made up the event.
As I arrived I noticed a plane flying an orbit around the event with a sign in tow stating “Change the locks”: I found a parking spot and headed out into the crowdThere were plenty of people from both sides there. Everyone was fairly well behaved. Some shouts back and forth but overall everyone kept their cool.
I love seeing the various signs and differnent people who come out for these types of events. If you want to see all the photos I took they are all here.