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Rainbow Canyon 6-8th May 2013

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Surfrdan
Posts: 102
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:18 pm
Location: Aberystwyth

Rainbow Canyon 6-8th May 2013

Post by Surfrdan » Sat May 11, 2013 2:40 pm

Well that was a worthwhile trip Day 1 resulted in 1 pass and I was up at the Father Crowley Vista carpark shieltering from the rain at the time so results are a poor diving-in shot and a belly shot. Day 2 was better with 2 full low passes and 2 semi pases with a bit of inverted diving back in for the exit. Spirited flying which was great to watch. Then Wednesday brought something in the region of 15 passes I think. I lost count. Several of the same airframes and the growler from tuesday was back leaving quite and impression.

Day 1 1 movement, was in the wrong location due to sheltering from a rain storm.

1)
Image
DSC_2688 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

2)
Image
F/A-18 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

3)
Image
F/A-18 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

Day 2 things improved after another rainy morning which had me leaving the hill to grab a hotdog back at camp. Luckily you can walk off the hill drive the 5 miles back to Panamint, order food and a couple drinks, drive back and walk back into position all within an hour!

4)
Image
F/A-18 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

5)
Image
F/A-18 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

6)
Image
F/A-18 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

7)
Image
F/A-18 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

8) This came close to being my shot of the year. 1/320th Fluffy backlit EF-18 Growler AND it's sharp! Sadly I had too much lens (not usually a problem at Rainbow Canyon I was told). This show of force was immediately followed by a vertical climb, inversion and dive down into the exit of the canyon. I almost screamed 'America F*&K YEH!' and did a fist pump, it was that awesome. I think the back seater is saluting too? The next in the series showed the burners on full too but the burners are the only thing in the frame!

Image
EF-18 Growler by Surfrdan, on Flickr

Day 3

After a fantastic afternoon on Tuesday, I was happy with what I had in the bag and coud have gone home happy from there. However, I had a day left on the hill. I was not preared for what followed. After 1 pass on Monday, 4 on tuesday, we had something in the region of 15 passes on Wednesday. All hornets, but included growlers, super hornets and classic hornets as well as 2 special tails! Not only a good traffic day, but the growler pilot from yesterday appeared to be back again. I'd been shooting 420mm yesterday (300mm + 1.4 TC on crop body). Today I got 1 pass banked with the same setup, then moved to the spot where I bagged the growler the previous day, only without the TC on this time. Surely, I'd get him all in shot this time?


9)
Image
F/A-18 Hornet by Surfrdan, on Flickr

10)
Image
F/A-18 Super Hornet by Surfrdan, on Flickr

11)
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F/A-18 Super Hornet by Surfrdan, on Flickr

12)
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F/A-18 Super Hornet by Surfrdan, on Flickr

13)
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F/A-18 Super Hornet by Surfrdan, on Flickr

14)
Image
DSC_2870 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

15)
Image
DSC_2884 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

16)
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DSC_2888 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

17)
Image
DSC_2921 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

18)
Image
DSC_2939 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

19) NOPE! Still to close at 300mm
Image
DSC_2944 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

20) Oh well, get a cockpit instead
Image
DSC_2945 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

21) .. and a going away shot
Image
DSC_2948 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

22)
Image
DSC_2965 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

23)
Image
DSC_2967 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

So there we have it. An awesome location yet I only saw 1 or possibly 2 togs there, at the easier to reach Father Crowley Vista. I was down the canyon slightly but the walk was only akin to that of Cad East top from the access road. Hardly 10 minutes scrabble up dusty rocky hill. I owe thanks to Skys7 from fencecheck for the location info. It was an obvious spot though, once you'd seen traffic go through once. My only gripe is that I didn't bag a Falcon. Just as it was my favourite aircraft growing up and I know they have been known to fly through. I think Sequestration has hit them though. Clearly not a problem for Lemoore and China Lake who provided most of the traffic I believe.

Squadrons represented:
VFA-122
VX-31
VX-9
VFA-192
VFA-14
VFA-86

Chris Procter
Posts: 912
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:43 pm
Location: Leeds UK
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Re: Rainbow Canyon 6-8th May 2013

Post by Chris Procter » Sat May 11, 2013 3:15 pm

Hats off to you for getting off your behind and getting out there - seen this locayion on a few other sites in the past and think it will become very popular in the coming years
great set of images well done
Chris

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li'l spotter
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:36 pm
Location: Norwich,England

Re: Rainbow Canyon 6-8th May 2013

Post by li'l spotter » Sat May 11, 2013 3:29 pm

Nice shots mate. :D Wish i was there. :thumbs: Is it always got something going through there? :S


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Richard B
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Location: Warwickshire

Re: Rainbow Canyon 6-8th May 2013

Post by Richard B » Sat May 11, 2013 4:27 pm

Looks a spot on location, some cracking images you have captured,
Mach Donald loop, USA style. :thumbs:

Zymurgy661
Posts: 3306
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:15 am

Re: Rainbow Canyon 6-8th May 2013

Post by Zymurgy661 » Sat May 11, 2013 7:22 pm

Some lovely shots there, tempting me to head out for a day when i am in Vegas during august!


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Surfrdan
Posts: 102
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Location: Aberystwyth

Re: Rainbow Canyon 6-8th May 2013

Post by Surfrdan » Sat May 11, 2013 9:33 pm

About 3 hours I think. I drove from San Diego before rush hour and it took around 5 hours for 300 miles. If you're not on Fox2 forum, Here's a full copy of my location guide: (Mods please move to a new thread if you see fit)


Situated within the Death Valley National Park, this location is on the Jedi Transition within the R2508 Complex. The complex is much like the North Wales MTA and contains several airspace blocks overhead for Air to Air and Supersonic work as well as a flowed low level route called Sidewinder. The Jedi Transition is the low level route between Owens valley and Panamint Valley and provides the best vantage point that I am aware of at this time. The valley is flowed from West to East although reports of aircraft going the wrong way, usually high, have been heard.

Father Crowley Vista

This is the easiest location to get to as you can just drive right there. It's a car park with toilets and provides a tourist viewpoint over the valley. It's situated right where the aircraft drop back into low level after climbing over a pass in the route. Shots here are diving-in and belly shots as the aircraft bank away to line up the for canyon proper.
420mm on a crop sensor here gets you shots like these (I think these have been cropped slightly too):

Image
VFA-122 F/A-18 Super Hornet by Surfrdan, on Flickr

Image
VFA-122 F/A-18 Super Hornet by Surfrdan, on Flickr

Father Crowley Dirt Road
From Father Crowley Vista car park there is a dirt road which is passable with care by car. I drove a minivan down there several times without issue. It's rough and rocky so take care or risk punctures. Before the end of the track which ends in a turning area, park up on the left by the rocky ledge where there is a wide point in which to park. Walk to the big boulders on the ledge and perhaps slightly back a few meters towards the car park for the closest view. I don't have any photos from here but I think you'd want more than 300mm on a cropped sensor again.

View West up the valley towards the car park
Image
photo.JPG by Surfrdan, on Flickr

View East towards Panamint Valley
Image
photo.JPG by Surfrdan, on Flickr

Panorama from the viewpoint. Note my green bag in the best spot to stand.
Image
photo.JPG by Surfrdan, on Flickr


Red Point

From the dirt road location above, you can see where Highway 190 bends towards the canyon twice to form am 'M' shape in the road. At the closest bend, park and walk to the ridge from here.
Image
photo.JPG by Surfrdan, on Flickr

Park here off the road: http://bit.ly/10pNfLR
A short walk, comparable to the climb from the access road to the top of Cad East. Only it's over loose volcanic ash, gravel and rocks.

Looking West again:
Image
photo.JPG by Surfrdan, on Flickr

Looking East again:
Image
photo.JPG by Surfrdan, on Flickr

Panorama
Image
photo.JPG by Surfrdan, on Flickr

From here, you can get great shots with 420mm (again may be cropped)
Image
VX-31 F/A-18 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

Image
VX-31 F/A-18 by Surfrdan, on Flickr

Alternatively, if you walk through the large boulders a further 25 meters East down the valley towards the 'exit', you can get full frame hornets with 300mm. Some pases will be too close even for 300mm! Hold onto your hat!

Image
VFA-14 F/A-18 Super Hornet by Surfrdan, on Flickr

Image
VX-9 EF-18 Growler by Surfrdan, on Flickr

and too close!
Image
VX-9 EF-18 Growler by Surfrdan, on Flickr

Accommodation is available only 5 miles away on the same road (Highway 190) at Panamint Springs Resort. http://www.panamintsprings.com/ They have rustic motel rooms for 79 USD per night down to RV parking (30 USD per night) with water and electric hookups (30amp and 50 amp so will require a 10USD converter for domestic use. I picked one up from an RV store in California and left it at Panamint when I left, so you may be able to use that. Or basic camping is available at 15 USD per night. There is a shower/ toilet block on the site, as well as a restaurant which opens from 7AM for a full breakfast buffet at 10USD, and stays open until 10PM or later for burgers, pizza and salads as well as a great supply of bottled and draft ales (The US is great for beer these days. Microbreweries everywhere).

I drove to San Diego from Panamint in the early morning in 5 hours. It was 300 miles in total. I think it's about 4 hours from LA, Vegas is probably 3 hours away.

Edwards AFB run the complex along with China Lake, and Lemoore Naval Air Stations. They provide a great publication with plenty of info.
http://www.edwards.af.mil/shared/media/ ... 03-052.pdf

MOA Traffic use 291.600 and 120.250 (Joshua Approach) and the low fly common freq is 315.900. Monitor all 3 for a great appreciation on what is going on above. I heard multiple flights of F15s, F16s and F18s as well as other unidentified aircraft. It's busy airspace. You can also watch ACM above you in the Panamint MOA. F18s are the most common in the canyon but F16s also use it as do F15s, F5s, Cobras, Hueys and EA-6 Prowlers. Some evidence can be seen here:
http://plomi.smugmug.com/Airplanes/Low- ... &k=6LhMGbk

Like the UKLFS, nothing is guaranteed and virtually all flying is daylight hours on weekdays.

GummyBe4r
Posts: 1059
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:14 pm

Re: Rainbow Canyon 6-8th May 2013

Post by GummyBe4r » Sat May 11, 2013 11:46 pm

absolutly stunning buddy :thumb:

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