In further proof that the weather here has completely lost its bearings, 12 January 2014 had dawned with clear skies, unlimited visibility and mild temperatures hovering at around 8 degrees Centigrade – a marked contrast to the low cloud, fog, two feet of snow and -10 we’re used to seeing at this time (as I had made abundantly clear on more than one occasion 😀 ). Naturally, such a fine day could not have been allowed to go to waste – especially since “proper” winter is likely preparing to pounce from around the corner – so a friend and I made arrangements for a short hop to neighboring Slovenia in our club’s wee Cessna 150.
Our target for the day was Maribor Airport (LJMB), a swell field serving the town of the same name and located near the northeastern tip of Slovenia, right between Croatia and Austria. One of the country’s three airports of entry, it sports a 2,500 m / 8,200 ft paved runway equipped with a host of instrument approaches, full night lighting, all relevant ground services – and virtually no large-caliber traffic 🙂 . Just 30-ish minutes of flight time from Zagreb, this had always made it an ideal training location and a practical alternative to busy Pleso – so much so that the majority of our local student pilots (especially those aiming for CPLs) have visited it at least once during their training 🙂 (I myself more than half a dozen times).
Our flight today was however a pure cross-country joyride, which gave me ample time to soak up the weather and enjoy the scenery – and naturally get busy with the camera 🙂 .
Though I’m not really in the “business” of photographing airliners – at least not those that are common and plain enough – a few days ago I had happily accepted an invitation from two of my spotting colleagues to visit Brnik airport (LJLJ) in neighboring Slovenia for some international spotting :). And while the traffic picture at Slovenia’s main airport, serving the capital Ljubljana, isn’t in essence all that different from that of Zagreb – an endless stream of CRJs punctuated by some GA and an odd Airbus – the airport’s crisp, clear and unpolluted highland air, stunning mountain backdrops and very accessible spotting positions (not to mention very friendly local spotters) were ideal conditions for some photographic practice and experimentation :). Plus, given that the subjects at an international airport tend to move quite a lot faster than the GA lighties I usually photograph, it was all good panning and tracking practice :D. In the event, we even managed to nail two quite rare birds along the way…