Last weekend I had an opportunity to ride along as the 128th Air Refueling Wing ran a training exercise. The mission was to refuel two Wisconsin Air National Guard F15s in flight — and the flight crew went out of their way to help us take pictures / movies of the process. While my fellow passengers got great shots to go with the memories, the best I could come up with was this.
Yes, if you manipulate the photo enough there is another KC135 Tanker refueling an F15 as seen through the cockpit windshield of the KC135 Tanker I was aboard. It’s just above and to the right of the pilot’s forehead (really).
What happened? When digital cameras first came out, I bought one (Toshiba PDR-M4). I have taken many great pictures with it over the years.
As I got more comfortable with the camera I tried taking more interesting pictures — a flock of geese landing in a freshly harvested wheat field is one example. On my trusty old camera, the zoom function is handled via software (which crashed 10 years ago along with the PC I loaded it on). The results were about the same as above — you can’t find the geese landing in the wheat stubble.
Geese land in the field every year after the harvest, so I never prioritized upgrading my camera.
Thus I was completely unprepared for this one unique opportunity. The lesson is that technology moves quickly. Even if your current technology is good enough to get by today, it might not be tomorrow. All I really lost is the ability to boast about the trip — if an ERP is out of date it could be much more expensive.