When I was a boy my dad would to take us to sit on the roof terrace of the E.T. Joshua airport and just watch the four and six seater propeller planes land and takeoff. The airport was in the aptly named Arnos Vale.

The Tuesday Photo Challenge is a weekly theme-based challenge for photographers of all kinds to share both new and old photography. This week's theme is "land".


Growing up, Dad had this thing for dragging us kids to the airport. Perched on the rooftop deck of the E.T. Joshua Airport, we'd watch these four and six-seater dual-prop beauties zip in and out. The airport in Arnos Vale had its charm. At home in Dorsetshire Hill, using Dad's trusty binoculars, we'd spot these planes making their way in from the Caribbean Sea right from the house’s south-facing veranda. But there was something about being right there, at the airport. Maybe it was the roar of the propellers or the pungent whiff of jet fuel, but man, it just got to me. I loved every bit of it.

Yesterday was brutally cold and windy, with the mercury dipping to -2°C. The wind chill made it feel more like a bitter -6°C. Despite the weather, I headed over to Princeton Airport, despite the chill. The cold was still biting even under my wool coat, multiple layers, thick socks, gloves, a hat, and a hoodie.

When I arrived, I went straight to the reception at Princeton Airport and met two gentlemen there, Steve and Parth.

Earlier this week, I emailed the airport and got the green light to snap pictures of the planes for the Tuesday Photo Challenge. So, Steve and Parth handed me an airport map, pointing out the safe spots to stand and shoot. They wanted to ensure I didn't get in the way of the student pilots.

From where I stood on the field, I had a clear view of the planes landing. My lens of choice was the AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8, but it didn't take me long to realise it didn't have the reach I needed. Through my viewfinder, the planes were like distant birds nearing the runway. With my sightline level with the planes, they practically vanished into the scrubby horizon as they touched down. Safe to say, it wasn't quite going to plan.

I decided to switch it up and moved to the runway's far end, hugging the airport's southern fence. My shots improved, but the lack of zoom was still biting me. I might've been in better shape if I had been nearer the landing strip or had a telephoto lens. Anyway, I did manage to snag one decent shot, which I posted.


Dark-eyed junco
Dark-eyed junco · Sunday 5 February 2017 · Nikon D5100 at 1/1000 sec, ISO 250 · AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G at f/1.8

I found myself standing, lost in thought, by the kitchen window. I had just brewed a pot of freshly ground coffee, savouring the distinct taste of South American beans. I watched the small birds zig-zagging between the trees and the pair of bird feeders I had installed some years back. Bhavna often points out that I've now taken on the role of guardian for these feathered creatures, constantly reminding me to keep the feeders stocked.

I wanted to set up a laser-based camera trigger to capture bird photographs. Unfortunately, the Kickstarter project I backed to produce the laser-guided system shut down last week. Their initial project was unsuccessful, and it seems they never bounced back. Consequently, my bird project never took flight (pun intended). I was disappointed and angry.

Bhavna was under the weather this weekend. But this morning, as she awoke, I enthusiastically pointed out the spectacle of about a dozen birds feasting outside our kitchen window. She turned to me and said, "You know, birds make landings too". That revelation astounded me! Why hadn't that thought crossed my mind?

With renewed excitement, I positioned my camera next to the sliding door and started capturing photos. I managed to take around two hundred shots in total, not an easy task considering how swiftly these small birds move. Many of my frames were empty; many images were blurry. I increased the shutter speed and carried on. The focus isn't perfect, and the depth of field is quite narrow, but I captured one excellent image of a bird landing within that hour.

The bird in the picture is a sparrow known as the Dark-eyed Junco. I uploaded the photo to the Merlin Bird ID app for confirmation from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Sunset Over Princeton Airport

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I parked near the Princeton Fitness Center and walked over 206. I only realized it when I got to the traffic light but there is a pedestrian cross walk near the exit onto Route 206 from the strip mall.

Despite my experience photographing the Princeton Boathouse this morning I forgot my cold it was outside. I got to the location -- the empty lot just north of the Princeton Airport -- around 5:30; just a few minutes before the start of golden hour.

Thank goodness I had my sunglasses. Steering into the sun while I focused my camera to the horizon might have damaged my retinas. I stood in the cold firing off a few shots about every five minutes. I left when I thought the sun would go down and leave me standing in the field in the dark.

AirPort everywhere with Wireless Distribution System (WDS)

I have been using Wireless Distribution System (WDS) between Time Capsule (TC), AirPort Extreme (AE) Base station, and AirPort Express (AX) to extend my network all over my home. The Time Capsule is the main with the AE and AX as "supplicants". The configuration is such that it appears as one wireless network with one SSID. I get between 80% and 90% signal strength from anywhere in the house. As long as I use the AirPort Admin software ( either on a Mac or on Windows ) setting up the WDS network is a breeze. All I needed was the MAC address of each device.

The AX is connected to the stereo for use with AirTunes from the Mac mini ( which is hooked up via HDMI to the TV ). My stereo and TV are not in the same room. The AE is just a repeater and also connects the Series 2 TiVo to the network.

I had configured a LinkSys WRT54G with the DD-WRT firmware but never got around to testing it in WDS mode with the TC. I'll have to dust it off.  I was going to write up details on what I had done to accomplish this when I received the following email from a colleague in response to an email from another colleague.  I think he says it better than I could.

Both the main base station and the relay/remote base stations have to know they are participating in WDS. I know the old Linksys routers are not capable of WDS right out of the box. You have to reflash them with alternate firmware. On the Apple gear, you have to tell each device what role it plays in WDS and tell it the MAC address of the other devices so someone doesn't just join your WDS network with their router. I would imagine other branded devices would be similar. (You kow, Ting, it might be time to buy that TimeCapsule afterall, lol)

As an aside, I went into the Apple Skunkworks lab last night (my house and production network- lol). I was able to get my TimeCapsule and Airport Express to talk WDS (I need a better hobby for my free time).

The TC is cabled to my cable modem and served as my main base station.

My AE served as a remote base station. I set LEDs on both to flash on activity so I could see which router I was talking to. I've found:

  • Close to the main base station, data would fly (testing speed against's speed test). If I went to the AE, throughput would be halved but was not unbearable. It worked as the WDS spec advertized.
  • I could see the AE start to flash as I got closer to it. It transferred the connection seamlessly (and back again when I got close to the TC). I didn't have to kick anything to get it to flip back and forth between stations.

  • I kept the same IP address no matter where I went. The AE would just relay the traffic to the TC.

  • An added benefit is that you can use the WAN port on the AE as a regular LAN port. I shut off my PowerBook wireless and plugged in an ethernet cable from the PB to the AE. I was able to talk wired to the AE which then spoke wireless back to the TC. (Hmmm, maybe a good way to get an wired remote machine to network without having to run cables


  • No complicated setup on the AE. It honored all of the MAC address filtering and IP address ranges of the TC. All I had to do was tell it the TC's MAC address and duplicate the SSID and security settings

(WPA/WPA2 Personal).