“Summer Sightseeing,” Greg’s August, 2014 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2014 by Greg Brown

GrandFallsLittleColoradoRiverAloft_0231eSmw1200Not all who wander are lost

Once or twice a year I hear of friends visiting “Grand Falls,” a seasonal waterfall on Arizona’s Little Colorado River. Although the little-known 185-foot desert cataract is taller than Niagara Falls, it runs in volume only occasionally following mountain snow-melt, monsoon thunderstorms, or rare widespread rain.

Jean and I have always wanted to visit the landmark, but have been hampered both by its ephemeral water flow, and by the tortuous drive over primitive roads to reach its remote location northeast of Flagstaff. The rugged journey favors high-clearance vehicles, and traveling in pairs in case of breakdown. Invariably we either hear too late that the falls have been running, or are otherwise committed when invited to go.

Given the magnitude of the waterfall when flowing, I’d always assumed it would also be exciting to view from the air. But it’s not marked on sectional charts, nor many other maps for that matter, so finding it seemed a task in itself.

3-GregBrownFT814_0192eSmw1200Then one late-summer morning I found myself desperate to fly. Not having been aloft in weeks, and armed with a new camera that demanded “testing,” I decided on a lark to seek out Grand Falls and mark it for future reference in my GPS navigator. There’d been little rain lately, so I didn’t expect the falls to be running. But knowing their location would be useful for a future aerial visit when the right opportunity arose.

I first gleaned general coordinates and nearby landmarks via Internet search. I also knew the Little Colorado River runs northwestward from Winslow to ultimately join the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. By intercepting the Little Colorado near Winslow and tracing it downstream, I should easily find Grand Falls.

2-GregBrownFT814_0185eSmw1200The instant I departed the ground, I knew I’d picked the right day to fly. The sky sparkled cobalt, punctuated by snowy puffs of fair-weather cumulus. No sooner had I turned downwind for departure than I was mesmerized by a huge field of vivid yellow wildflowers bordering Lake Mary southeast of town. I diverted in that direction and sailed over the sea of golden blossoms. Floating in their midst like a spidery space station was the Navy Precision Optical Interferometer, an observatory that collects starlight from distant galaxies via widely dispersed light tubes, and calculates their distance from Earth via parallax.

Following a joyous few minutes savoring chrome-yellow flowers, I departed Flagstaff’s pine forest over high desert to intercept the Little Colorado River. I found it chiseled as if by a coping saw through crimson rock north of Winslow. Tracing the channel toward its distant Colorado River junction, I almost missed Grand Falls, as it proved virtually invisible from the upstream side. But for whatever reason, I happened to glance back. To my surprise and delight given the dry summer weather, the falls flowed vigorously.

READ THE WHOLE STORY in this month’s Flying Carpet column, “Summer Sightseeing.” (Please allow a moment for the article to load.)

Top photo: At 185 feet, Arizona’s “Grand Falls,” is taller than Niagara (note cars in foreground), but flows in volume only a few times a year. Upper right: Late-summer wildflowers tint the Coconino Plateau near Flagstaff, Arizona. Lower left: Wildflowers envelop the Navy Precision Optical Observatory. SEE MORE PHOTOS!

(This column first appeared in the July, 2014 issue of AOPA Flight Training magazine.)

©2014 Gregory N.Brown

“Secret Mountain Sunset,” Greg’s Aerial Fine Art Photographic Print

Posted in Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2014 by Greg Brown

Secret Mountain Sunset_1197PSe-H_ASmw1200

Although I’ve often photographed the area of “Secret Mountain Sunset” in daylight, never before have I experienced such an opportunity to capture the hulking rock towers of Arizona’s Red Rock / Secret Mountain Wilderness as they slip into night.

Secret Mountain Sunset debuts in Limited Edition 27″x40″ and 24″x36″ prints, and Open Editions of 16″x24″ and 10″x14″. Print prices start at $175. See detailed pricing and ordering information.

Like all my Views from the Flying Carpet, this photograph was collaboratively tuned for print with Master Photographic Printer Richard Jackson, who prints for the world’s finest photographers. Each individual print is meticulously crafted, mounted as appropriate, and packaged for shipping under Mr. Jackson’s supervision.

Learn more about my Views from the Flying Carpet Fine Art Photographic Prints, including available images, and our process for creating these marvelous prints.

View a video about my aerial photography, and subscribe for email updates.

Hope you enjoy this view from my cockpit!

Greg

PS: Visit my first Phoenix-area Views from the Flying Carpet Arts Fine Art Aerial Photography exhibit at the Arizona Historical Society Museum in Papago Park, Tempe, AZ, mid-July through September, 2014.

©2014 Gregory N. Brown

“The War in the Air,” yesterday’s view of the future, by H.G. Wells

Posted in aviation history, Greg recommends on June 13, 2014 by Greg Brown

0574890L-1I’ve just finished reading The War in the Air, by H.G. Wells.

For those who aren’t familiar, that 1908 sci-fi work is renowned for having presaged modern aerial warfare.

Although the book’s protagonist and his personal story are forgettable (if not downright annoying), Wells is remarkably prescient in predicting the advent of world war, coming 20th-century German and Japanese aggression, and the terror rained down by aerial armadas in World Wars I and II.

And if you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to do battle from dirigibles, or fly a flapping-wing aircraft, here’s your opportunity to find out!

You’ll need to hold your nose through parts of it, but the author’s broader observations and predictions are quite fascinating.

Those who have read it, or choose to, let me know what you think!

The book is available in various print editions, or you can download The War in the Air for Kindle, FREE from amazon.

©2014 Gregory N. Brown

“Space Travelers,” Greg’s July, 2014 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2014 by Greg Brown

MeteorCraterSnowSunsetAloft-J_0791eSmw1200Viewing Earth through fresh eyes

“My favorite moment was circling that huge crater on the way back to Flagstaff from Window Rock,” said my sister Leslie when asked what she’d most enjoyed about her Arizona holiday. “Having always been fascinated with sci-fi and outer space, it was branded in my brain that ‘this is the closest I’ll ever get to the cosmos!’”

Leslie and her husband Lindsay recently visited from Philadelphia. Along with driving trips to the Grand Canyon and the historic mining town of Jerome, I’d offered flying primarily to access additional destinations during their stay.

Our first aerial excursion was to Arizona’s old territorial capital of Prescott, where we viewed a photo show, wandered art galleries, and toured the 150-year-old log Governor’s Mansion. Instead of driving the 3-hour round trip, we flew 35 minutes each way. En route, we surveyed the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness, and previewed mountainside Jerome from above.

Everyone seemed to enjoy that flying trip, so I proposed another that seemed purely selfish at the time: to visit my Navajo pilot buddy Tyler and his family while he was home from college. There wasn’t time to drive 7 hours round-trip to Window Rock, but it’s only an hour away by Flying Carpet. The vermillion Painted Desert and golden spires of the Navajo Nation over which we flew are so different from the rolling green beauty of Pennsylvania, that I was surprised when our guests said little about it […]

GregBrownFT614_ReentryRocketSmw1200I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised about the couple’s space interests, however. Outside their day jobs, Leslie is a beadwork artist, and Lindsay a wood sculptor. Among other subjects, each crafts sci-fi and space pieces.

orbit-3-3-qtr-view-6-2010Leslie fashions beadwork spacecaft, planets, and ray guns — one of her rockets is in NASA’s space-art collection — while Lindsay artistically interprets planetary orbits…

READ THE WHOLE STORY in this month’s Flying Carpet column, “Space Travelers.” (Please allow a moment for the article to load.)

Top photo: Rare snow frosts Arizona’s Meteor Crater, at sunset.” At right: “Re-Entry Rocket (or Monday),” NASA Space Art Collection. Design and glass beadwork by Leslie B. Grigsby. Lower left: Orbit #3 by Lindsay Grigsby. SEE MORE PHOTOS!

(This column first appeared in the July, 2014 issue of AOPA Flight Training magazine.)

©2014 Gregory N.Brown

“Death Valley Salt Flats II,” Greg’s Aerial Fine Art Photographic Print

Posted in Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2014 by Greg Brown

DeathValleySaltFlats-II_0303e-HSmw1200

I photographed “Death Valley Salt Flats II,” near Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, at 282 ft (86 m) below sea level.

Death Valley is the most other-worldly place Jean and I have ever encountered, both on the ground and from aloft. Swirling “salt devils” arise from bone-white salt flats to pierce a cobalt sky, contrasting against shockingly vibrant mineral deposits tinting the surrounding cliffs and mountains with unnatural color.

Read my Flying Carpet column, “Birthday Flowers,” describing this particular trip. (This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine, June, 2005.)

Death Valley Salt Flats II debuts in Limited Edition 27″x40″ and 24″x36″ prints, and Open Editions of 16″x24″ and 10″x14″. Print prices start at $175. See detailed pricing and ordering information.

Like all my Views from the Flying Carpet, this photograph was collaboratively tuned for print with Master Photographic Printer Richard Jackson, who prints for the world’s finest photographers. Each individual print is meticulously crafted, mounted as appropriate, and packaged for shipping under Mr. Jackson’s supervision.

Learn more about my Views from the Flying Carpet Fine Art Photographic Prints, including available images, and our process for creating these marvelous prints.

View a video about my aerial photography, and subscribe for email updates.

Hope you enjoy this view from my cockpit!

Greg

PS: Visit my Coconino Center for the Arts Fine Art Aerial Photography exhibit in Flagstaff, Arizona, through May 31, 2014.

©2014 Gregory N. Brown

“A Pilot Again!” Greg’s June, 2014 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, Greg recommends, Greg's student pilot pep talks with tags , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2014 by Greg Brown

GregBrownFT714_1570edeSmw1200Back in the cockpit after nine years away

What a kick, for Mary Katherine Jackson to experience her dad piloting an airplane. Sure, she knew his credentials, but their previous father-daughter flight was nearly beyond memory, when she was just six years old.

Richard Jackson crafts exhibit prints for fine-art photographers. The day we met, he was printing National Geographic’s iconic, “Afghan Girl,” cover photo for famed photographer Steve McCurry. Only when we later began working together did I learn of Richard’s aviation background. As a US Air Force combat photographer in Viet Nam, he documented military action from such legendary aircraft as the F-100 “Thud,” C-130 Hercules, and Chinook and Huey helicopters.

Following his tour, Richard qualified as an instrument-rated commercial pilot. He’d accumulated 1,100 hours and was training for his CFI when personal and career pressures derailed his flying during a busy period of his life.

GregBrownFT714_1566eSmw1200Then, 2½ years ago, Richard and I flew from Flagstaff to Phoenix to proof some prints. Remembering his piloting background, I offered the controls as we taxied out. He never returned them.

Seven years after his previous flight, Richard expertly took off, negotiated traffic and radar vectors to Sky Harbor International Airport, and landed, all from the right seat. Based on the joy in his eyes and his virtuoso performance, I urged him to get current again.

“One of these days, I will,” he replied. While Richard’s piloting passion and skills clearly survived, the requisite resources, motivation, and time had yet to converge. More concerning was something unspoken. Experience tells me the confidence to go back to piloting erodes long before the competence does. Flight proficiency usually returns quickly even after a long hiatus; the bigger obstacle is turning the key and driving to the airport. And the longer pilots are away from flying, the less likely they’ll return to it…

READ THE WHOLE STORY in this month’s Flying Carpet column, “A Pilot Again!” (Please allow a moment for the article to load.)

Photo: Richard Jackson treats daughter Mary Katherine to a ride, on his first command flight after returning to the cockpit.

(This column first appeared in the June, 2014 issue of AOPA Flight Training magazine.)

©2014 Gregory N.Brown

“Lake Mead Shoreline,” Greg’s Aerial Fine Art Photographic Print

Posted in Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2014 by Greg Brown

Lake Mead Shoreline_0316-PSe-HSmw1200

Cobalt waters contrast against golden rock along the Lake Mead Shoreline, east of Las Vegas, Nevada.

I made this photograph one beautiful morning flying from Flagstaff to Las Vegas. The trip home, however, was far more harrowing. Read the story in my Flying Carpet column, “Good Roads to Land On.”

Lake Mead Shoreline debuts in Limited Edition 27″x40″ and 24″x36″ prints, and Open Editions of 16″x24″ and 10″x14″. Print prices start at $175. See detailed pricing and ordering information.

Like all my Views from the Flying Carpet, this photograph was collaboratively tuned for print with Master Photographic Printer Richard Jackson, who prints for the world’s finest photographers. Each individual print is meticulously crafted, mounted as appropriate, and packaged for shipping under Mr. Jackson’s supervision.

Learn more about my Views from the Flying Carpet Fine Art Photographic Prints, including available images, and our process for creating these marvelous prints.

View a video about my aerial photography, and subscribe for email updates.

Hope you enjoy this view from my cockpit!

Greg

PS: Visit my Coconino Center for the Arts exhibit in Flagstaff, Arizona, from April 15-May 31, 2014, and my Sharlot Hall Museum exhibit in Prescott, Arizona through April 27th, 2014.

©2014 Gregory N. Brown

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