Saturday, February 27, 2016

Long distance flight journeys

Air travel can become really interesting if one plans ahead (or if one is lucky enough) to get a window seat. 😎 Keep the live map option on the touch screen monitor and periodically look outside the window. Every view would be a new surprise. One can get some really breathtaking scenes of our diverse mother nature. 😍 At the same time the live map gives the information of where the flight is.

Our journey from Dubai to Chicago was a long 16 hours flight; which means sitting, eating, walking, sleeping on the same aeroplane - this would certainly sound not so exciting or boaring for many.  However, on such air travels, I got to see some amazing landscapes at different places on the globe. I was sitting in the window seat and the weather at most places was perfect. 🌈🌞🌈

Of course, this was not my first long route flight journey, but ya, you can say, this was my latest travel in Summer time, so I am writing about this one. 😉 I actually had one more really latest long distance air travel, but that was around in December, so even though I was sitting in the window seat, I couldn't get much nice views. Most of the time, in most regions, all I could see was a bed of clouds. Haha. Well, I shouldn't say I saw nothing but clouds; actually at some places I saw some amazing winter vistas, including snow covered mountains, snowy cities and yes, glaciers and iceberg filled waterbodies somewhere above Greenland and northern Canada. To see this winter beauty from the sky was equally awe inspiring. 🙆

Since this journey is from East to West, which means traveling in the direction of sun, we see daylight at all the places where flight travels ahead, if flight has taken off in daytime. ✈ Our flight took off in the morning from Dubai, and that's why I got to see all the different beautiful vistas in bright daylight. That was summertime in the northern hemisphere, so at many places there was almost clear sky, though at some places it was cloudy.

International flight travels at a very high level, way lot above the level of clouds. Hence if the weather outside is very cloudy, from the flight window, we can only see a dence layer of clouds spread everywhere. ☁ ☁☁ Almost all the international flights travel in the stratosphere. Stratospheric region starts around 30,000 to 40,000 ft high above the surface level. Flying in stratosphere benefits the airplanes in many ways such as, it causes low air resistance, less fuel burning and it provides better engine efficiency. The outside air temperature where the airplane flys is very low, ❄ in the range of say -40°C to -50°C and the air pressure is also very different, also because the flight is traveling in a fast speed. The inside cabin temperature as well as air pressure is highly regulated, so that humans can stay normally and they won't feel much difference in temperature and pressure. Though, sometimes some people might feel cold, hence, light blankets along with small pillows are provided in long route flights.

Flights traveling from Europe to North America; in fact all flights making any long transcontinental journey in the northern hemisphere, take the northern Arctic route. Instead of flying in a straight line right above the Atlantic Ocean (imagine a flat regular map of earth), such flights take an apparently curved route, flying above Iceland and Greenland and sometimes even above the north pole. 🚩 The reason behind this is flights always want to take the closest possible paths, for the obvious reason of course, to save the major fuel cost. Our earth is spherical so what looks straight line and hence looks closest on a flat map, it is actually the longer path if seen on a sphere. Hence, the apparently curved route seen on the flat map of touch screen monitors provided in flights, is the closest possible.

Our flight from Dubai to Chicago, also took a similar Arctic route and flew above different countries including Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Poland and above the southern parts of Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Greenland. Then it came over Canada and finally it reached Chicago. 🌇

The flight that takes off in the morning from Dubai, reaches Chicago on the same day around late afternoon, even after completing the long 16 to 17 hours journey. This is because of the time difference in the two places. Chicago is far away to the west compared to Dubai, so Chicago timezone is almost 12 hours behind Dubai timezone.

In northern areas like Chicago, in summer, the day is lot longer than as compared to in winter. So in summer when a flight lands in Chicago at say around 4 PM, even then the city has a bright daylight just like afternoon; whereas it's complete dark outside, when a flight lands around same time in winter, because of the smaller days. Strange, isn't it? 😎🙆

While landing in Chicago, I got to see the amazing complete view of the world famous Chicago skyline. Although, this wasn't the first time I was seeing those Chicago's architectural wonders from a flight, this time it was special. The weather and daylight in this 'Windy City' was perfect at that time and I got to capture some cool shots as well as a landing video too. Yay.
Happy me !!😃

~~ Seema's Photo Palette ~~

Monday, February 15, 2016

Aerial Photograph - Lake Maharloo, Iran

In the month of June 2015, while on our flight from Dubai to Chicago, I saw various vibrant landscapes.
One of them was a striking pink colored water body. I was so surprised to see a pink lake and I took some photographs of that unique scenery.
At that time, I also saw the location on the live map of our touch screen monitor. We were flying near a city called Shiraz in Iran. 
After reaching home in US, I searched more about this pink lake stuff on internet.
I got to know that there are very few of these pink lakes on earth. They are situated in different countries.
The name of this pink lake is Maharloo lake. There were a couple of other smaller pink water bodies near this lake, but this one was the largest.
Maharloo lake is located around 30 kilometers southeast of Shiraz, Iran.
This is the first Pink lake in Iran and it is a salt water lake.
It's primary water source is a seasonal river named Soltanabad.
This lake is a winter habitat for many migratory bird species.
The water of Maharloo is used for extraction of normal salt and various other minerals. These typical minerals and the chemical components produced by some rare algae give the pink color to it's water.
On the Fire festival the Maharloo lake shore is a place for gathering and celebration of people from Shiraz to spend a happy night out.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Long drive along Snake River - UT, ID, WY

Scenic Drive along Snake River - Our interstate travel through Utah, Idaho & Wyoming
In a beautiful summer, me and hubby had a real great time on this long drive along the Snake river.
This river, named so perfectly, takes a snake like wobbly shape and it flows from the US states of Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Our journey was from Salt Lake city via Idaho Falls to the Grand Teton National Park. We traveled on different US highways including 26, 89 & 191.
We were traveling in a big coach bus, and the best of our luck was we were sitting on the very first seat, right next to the driver. And in front of us was the huge open view through the front glass and of course our big side window. 
That way, we got to see the ultimate scenery, because, we were able to view things from a way lot upper level as compared to a car drive.
There was no traffic on the road, just a couple cars and vans were driving along with us. We also saw some cars having kayak boats loaded on them.
Sometimes on both sides of the road, we could see farmlands and ranches.
Ranch is a large farm, where cattle or other animals are bred and raised.
At some places in farms, there were many windmills installed for unconventional wind energy generation. 
We could also see some cattle outside the farmhouses, basking in the sun and lawn, busy eating their 'meal'.
Farm workers were cultivating the fields with farm equipments, tractors and other machinery. First time in my life, I saw those large automatic water sprinklers, which were spread all the way from one side of the fields to another. 
The highway was adorned with majestic snow-clad Rocky mountains on one side and the scenic banks of Snake river on the other.
Occasionally, we saw some whitewater rafters enjoying their adventures in the river.
 The weather was calm, sunny with a faint blue sky and some clouds here and there. 
Sometimes we could see complete green mountains covered with coniferous trees; sometimes with grass and tiny wild flowers and sometimes just huge bare rocks.
We also saw various types of bridges on the river, some small, some huge and some were just made for walking. We took a few stops midway to experience the picturesque natural beauty.
On a couple of points, we even got out for some refreshing short walks on the nearby trails, not too far away from the road.
The road was perfectly smooth and was lined with proper instructions and sign boards at place to place. 
To take a few hours break, we reached the town of Jackson, situated in the Jackson hole valley of the great Teton mountains.
We saw the smallest Jackson airport, when our bus pulled out of the town of Jackson and drove further towards the Grand Teton National Park.
This long drive packed with beautiful surprises, was a great and unique experience in my life. We really enjoyed almost a full day of this exciting interstate journey.
~~ Seema's Photo Palette ~~

Monday, February 1, 2016

Utah State Capitol, Salt Lake City, UT

A couple years ago in the month of May around Memorial day, we went to Salt Lake City, Utah. Out of the many places we visited in that picturesque city, the first and the most significant was of course the Utah State Capitol. This is the house of government for the US state of Utah. 

Here is the fascinating view we saw while standing on the front side giant steps of the capitol building. It reminded me of the Swiss Alpine vistas I have seen in many photographs till now. But here to my surprise, I was actually witnessing the exact similar scenery of the charming American Rocky mountain ranges and this beautiful city.

The capitol is the main building of the Utah State Capitol Complex, which is located on Capitol Hill. We could see scenic views of the azure sky, snow capped mountains, greenery and the downtown Salt Lake City.

The building construction started in 1912 and this sumptuous structure was inaugurated in 1916. Later it was renovated in 2004/08. The architecture style of the capitol building is Neoclassical and can be majorly related to Roman and Greek domain of arts.

We entered the capitol from the eastern side, and the first unique statue we saw, was that of Chief Massasoit. This sculpture is made by a renowned Utah artist Cyrus Dallin. Massasoit was a native Indian leader and a pioneer, who welcomed the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. The sculpture greets visitors as they enter the Capitol Hill Complex from the east side.

The Utah State capitol building exterior is constructed of Utah granite and the building's interior has five floors - four main floors and a basement. 

After entering the capitol building we were amazed by the lavish internal architecture and the elegant decor. The capitol interior is decorated with many paintings and sculptures depicting Utah's history and heritage.

The building's main floor, is also the first level of the three-story rotunda. Rotunda means any building with a circular ground plan covered by a dome. The rotunda of capitol occupies the center of the building, under the magnificent dome. 

The original chandelier suspended from the dome's ceiling weighs 1,400 kg and the chain supporting it weighs an additional 450 kg. This is the most eye catching object when we turn our heads up.
The interior ceiling of the dome, is embellished with a magnificent painting having seagulls flying in the sky among clouds. We got to know that this theme was chosen because it represents Utah's history, also because seagull is Utah's official state bird. I feel, this theme is exuberant and very apt for the capitol dome.

On the east and west sides of the rotunda are atria (open-roofed entrance halls). These atria contain large glass skylights, covering the entire ceiling, allowing sunlight to enter inside.

Following is the photograph of the House Chamber of the capitol. The Utah House of Representatives work inside the House Chamber.

Finally, we came out from the front side of the capitol building. While we were already amazed by the entire experience, we were welcomed by one more memorial structure, the Mormon Battalion Monument. This commemorates the sacrifices made by 500 Mormon volunteers who joined the U.S.Army during the Mexican War. These sculptures carved in a 100-foot rose pink granite, present different periods of the Battalion’s history - the Enlistment, the military March and the Discovery of gold in California.