And now, after a week's delay, here are the pictures you've all been waiting for, the Blue Angels at Macdill Airfest 2010. I hope you'll find these were worth the wait.
Not long into the show, they did their first high speed cross at center stage. I always try to catch that moment, and I figured it would be easier with my fast 7D this year. I was both right and wrong.
I want to know who I have to be friends with to watch the show from the top of one of the big hangars...
I know some of it is an optical illusion from the ground, but I just can't get over how tight a formation these guys fly.
Because they went on so late in the day, I was almost shooting into the sun to get some of these pictures. You can see how the color of the sky changes from shot to shot. That's because it depends on how close they are to where the sun is. The best shots are when the planes approach from behind me. In that direction the sky is blue and the planes are fully illuminated. Unfortunately, it was also the least-used direction.
Here's another fast pass, this time with someone's head obscuring my view at just the right moment.
Up, up and away!
These pilots don't seem to know which way is up sometimes.
I guess they thought the show was almost over, so they went ahead and lowered the landing gear. Why the tail hook is down, that's beyond me...
Even the diamond formation thought it was time to lower the hooks and landing gear.
It's just a weird look for these sleek planes.
I got almost all the planes in a nice full-on side view. Most, but not all.
See what I mean about some of the shots came out just fine?
Up? Down? What does it matter?
I think this was the only time during the show they did a maneuver where the water vapor streamed off the wings. That's it on the top side of the wing. Coming out the back is just regular smoke, but that cool effect on the wing is something else.
I think this was the only time they performed as a five-man group. Most of the show it was as a group of four and two single planes, or occasionally as all six.
Remember I mentioned that the mode dial on my camera got turned accidentally earlier in the day? Well, it happened in the middle of the Blue Angels as well. So I missed this cross, and it looks like it was a good one.
I guess I missed two of them. :(
At least I got this one.
I think this series of shots are my favorite.
Starting about here, as each plane rolls out of formation. The sky is blue, the illumination is just right and I don't think I even had to drop the shot any.
Ain't that just the coolest shot you're going to get from the ground?
Here's my best shot of plane #1.
And plane #3.
Am I posting too many pictures? Probably.
But I wanted to give you a sense of the awe I had in watching these guys. It was a forty minute show, and it was exciting every second.
It's like an exploding starburst of planes!
Or maybe this is the starburst of planes...
Have I done #3 already? I lost count...
I think some of the planes were running out of smoke this late in the show. Still a cool formation and a cool shot.
And we end with a good picture of number 4. Hope you enjoyed all these. Pretty sure this is the most pictures I've even put into a single post.