Monday, July 15, 2013

Early Bird

You heard the saying, the early bird gets the worm, and that proved to be true this morning for me. I was able to get away from home just before 5am, and with a quick stop at Tim Horton's, I was off and running in a easterly direction, first down highway 1, and then north on highway 9. After scouting out a number of canola fields, looking for just the right field for what I had in mind, I found this interesting looking reflection pond, and after parking my truck, I worked my way around the far side to shoot this photo. While I was doing that, I heard and saw a ag plane not too far away from me, and in short order I was able to park near the field of canola that this ag plane was applying herbicides over.

Lately I have been concentrating my photography on those beautiful canola field that dominate the fields of southern Alberta, as they are blooming everywhere at the moment. I don't know if there is a prettier time of the year in southern Alberta than with Canola fields in full bloom from horizon to horizon. I have trouble at this time of year, keeping from over-dosing on photos of Canola fields, and I try and be selective with my Canola photos as not to fill my hard-drives up with photos heavy with the color yellow. The other color that goes well with yellow at this time of year is the color blue, and what would be better than skies, lots of sky above all that Canola

The other noticeable ingredient that you see mixed in with the blue and yellow, are honey-bees, lots and lots of honey-bees! Canola is so predominant on the prairies that 80% of Canada's honey crop is from Canola. Next time that you are shopping in your favorite grocery store and find yourself in the isle that is stocked with honey, you will notice that a lot of the honey is white honey. Its a sure bet that this honey was gathered by honey-bees going about their business in a Canola field.

By now you may have noticed that the honey bee in these photos is a ag plane owned by "Early Bird Air Ltd" out of Strathmore AB, that I was fortunate enough to shoot a series of photos of on this morning.  This ag plane is a "Air Tractor" built by Air Tractor in the west Texas town of Olney. Air Tractor is the largest manufacturer of ag planes in the world, and they are a common sight in the fields throughout southern Alberta. I am not familiar enough with the Air Tractor ag planes to be able to tell you what model of Air Tractor this one is, but there is no doubt it is powered by a turbine engine, and after browsing the Air Tractor website, I have come to the conclusion that it may be a model 402B or a 502B, one developing 680 S.H.P., and the other developing 750 S.H.P.

Regardless of what model this Air Tractor is, the sound of the turbine powering this airplane was music to my ears as I shot photos in the early morning light. I also was able to see the pilot clearly, and he was very much at the top of his game, as he skillfully piloted this ag plane, applying  herbicides over this canola field, with this beautiful looking working man's airplane.

Flying a ag plane is one of the most demanding career choices for a pilot, next to flying a jet fighter. The ag pilot must have better-than-average concentration and faster-than-average eyes on the instruments. Here is what an ag pilot does once he has checked out the field: As he approaches and descends, he is following GPS guidance instruments for accurate positioning in the field. At the same time, he is pressing a smoker button to check the wind ... coming in over the field with only three to 10 feet to spare ... starting the spray ... rising and descending gently to follow the ground ... hitting the smoker again ... and watching for obstacles. All at 140 miles per hour...Ya gotta love it!

For more Air Tractor photos;!i=2634817957&k=TrDb2SC


Is that guy with the camera ever annoying, a little herbicide should fix him!!

                                             All photos expand

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