Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blue Angels

Ahh...vacation!  My family and I have been looking forward to vacation for a while now.  Beside having a day or two off here and there, I've not had a week's vacation in quite a while.  Needless to say, each of us were ready for a break.  As we have a nephew in Florida who we still had not met (he was born over a year ago), we decided the Sunshine State would be where we would go.

Most folks think of a few things when they think of Pensacola.  White sandy beaches, spring break, and the Blue Angels.  My MIL told us that the Blue Angels were going to be practicing while we were visiting, so this was definitely a "must do" while we were here for the week.  Even though it was "just practice", the crowd that showed up to watch was fairly large.  We arrived about 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled start and it was already crazy with people!  By the time we got out to the tarmac, we were a good 40-50 feet back from the rope that separated the crowd from the runway.  As the planes would be in the sky above us and not on the ground in front us, we figured this shouldn't be a problem.

Most of you know I love to take pictures for my church, my son's soccer games, and travel photos of the great places in this country I've had the privilege to visit.  Photographing an "air show", or even "practice" for an air show, was something new for me.  As we were waiting for things to get started, I had my standard 75-300mm zoom lens on and I fired off a few test shots.  With big, white, fluffy clouds overhead mixed with a vibrant blue sky as a backdrop, I figured this should be a pretty straightforward exercise.  I made sure my settings were dialed in and waited for things to start.

As the planes took off and started their "flyby's" and other maneuvers, I did my best to shoot and pan with the planes as they went by.  Wow!  It was so cool!  The noise of the jet engines and the skill with which the pilots fly those planes is breathtaking.  Here's one shot I got of 5 of the 7 planes that practiced.  I liked the different elements of the photo that played together so well including the clouds, sky, and the signature yellow and blue of the Blue Angels.  Even though this was my first attempt at "air show" photography, I certainly hope it won't be my last.  I have a few shots that I'm pretty happy with, but plenty that show it was my first time.  If any of you have photographed an air show before and have any tips, tricks, or techniques that you use, I'd love to hear them.  Feel free to comment and let me know.

I hope you enjoy the photo as much as I enjoyed taking it!

shot at 1/1600 sec at f8.0, ISO 200, 120mm