I was looking for another photo and came across a few I had forgotten about. In 2002 the Collings Foundation flew several WWII aircraft into Tucson International Airport and provided tours.
Each year the foundation took a few aircraft and toured the country, allowing visitors to tour the aircraft and for a more substantial donation provide sightseeing flights. For those who simply toured the aircraft on the ground they allowed something special, allowing guests to climb through the aircraft and see the inside.
As the airport was just a few minutes from work I had to take advantage of this opportunity. Deb met me for lunch and we headed over together to see the aircraft.
This time we visit the old Spanish mission of San Xavier del Bac south of Tucson seen here during a visit in 1996.
I visited the mission several times over the years, it can be very photogenic. A little patience will allow the photographer to catch the beams of sunlight from the upper story windows illuminating some of the saints and other icons found in this richly decorated church.
The photos are obviously from scanned slides. In the original frames the film grain is readily obvious, I use a little luminance noise reduction in processing to remove some of that. The super color saturation was not added in digital processing, it is very much part of the original slide.
Davis-Monthan AFB was my last duty station, I spent a year working the flight-line there. After I was out of the military we visited that flight-line again, this time for the annual 1993 “Lightning and Thunder” air show. A good day, with fun displays and a performance by the Thunderbirds…
Through trial and error my friend Dean Ketelsen has worked out a perfect place and the correct dates to observe the Sun setting behind the telescopes of Kitt Peak National Observatory. The site is along the Mt. Lemmon Highway above Tucson, over 50 miles away from the observatories. The correct alignment occurs just a few days before and after the solstice. It has become a bit of a holiday tradition for the members of the local astronomy club to join Dean at the correct spot in an attempt to get just the right photo. This year the weather treated them well…
I have looked for a similar alignment on Mauna Kea. Unfortunately the telescopes are not highly visible from sites east and west of the summit where the Sun will rise or set behind. The full Moon might be possible, but much tougher to predict.