Southwest Cutover

Baltimore & Washington
Camera: Fujifilm X100T

First morning in Baltimore and I take a stroll round by the hotel. It’s the usual desolate airport environment, hotels, car parks and not much else. And then, completely incongruously, I come across the Bates Motel.

The extraordinarily utilitarian Springhill Suites

And the awe inspiring view from my home for the month of May

Fortunately there’s a glut of high quality eating establishments in the locale

A quick spur of the moment Uber in to Washington on a cloudy day

Lets go over to our White House correspondent

Protester in front of the White House.

Protest against the Iranian Regime

First days at Baltimore airport

That’s a worrying amount of flights…

Is this the start of the end?

Chillin’ at Chilis

Almost as many dogs as humans fly southwest

Arriving into Washington, this time on the MARC train and on a much nicer day

Union Station DC

Actually his approval rating is nearer 36% now. Just saying

No Trumpsters here, then

This is what the end of a long day with me looks like

The fantastically mediocre Olive Grove

Sunset at Chilis

The Hilton Doubletree bar

Shopping with Vanessa

Our last night together, dinner at the wonderful Sushi Q

Back to London, via a long stopover in Detroit

Ah, home


The Beast of the East

At 05:25 on May 9th 2017 flight WN1257 pushed back from the stand at Pittsburgh International Airport, taxied to runway 10L and took off into clear skies, heading south towards Orlando.

1200 miles away in Dallas, several dozen people in the Command Centre watched throughout the day as a further 4000 flights came to life in the new reservation and departure control systems.

In a number of strategic airports across the the US, more than a hundred subject matter experts were deployed to provide technical support and operational advice.

My assignment was Baltimore. They call it The Beast of the East, due to the huge volume of departures; we handled up to 260 flights a day. And there were tears, screams, frayed tempers, banging of fists on desks, banging of heads on walls, periods of dark despair, and mainly that was just me. There was also a great deal of laughter.

Cameras and airports don’t mix well. Being behind a check-in desk, at a departure gate, in the hold of a 737 or wandering around on the apron snapping pictures raises questions, even if you do have the appropriate ID. With film, there’s an extra problem. Whilst I’ve happily subjected film to a couple of x-ray screenings, I knew that in this case I’d probably been going back and forth through security a dozen or more times a day. Therefore I reluctantly made the decision to take a single roll of film and to keep the camera landside, hopefully grabbing a few shots in the downtime.

These are a few of the wonderful people I worked with in a state of barely controlled chaos over the last month. Thanks guys, for all the laughter, warmth and friendship.

Southwest Cutover, Baltimore Airport, May 2017
Camera: Nikon FE
Film: Kodak Tmax 400
Process: Developed in D76 1+1