Friday, January 31, 2014

Photos--Blue Angels

The Blue Angels have been to the Florida Keys twice since I've lived here, for a total of four shows. I've been to every show and cannot believe our good fortune down here. Not only have they been here twice, lest anyone forget I shall remind you... the government pulled a doozy and we had that sequester.... remember? Well the Blue Angels were grounded just AFTER the Key West Show. The air show of Spring 2013 was the first, last and only Blue Angels show of their 2013 season. My heart sank for the Blue Angels team when that happened. Imagine working your entire life to become associated somehow with that group, from the mechanics to the pilots to everyone in between, and then WHAM-O grounded.

I have thousands of photos from the shows. Two years of shows, 2 shows each time, for a grand total of 4 shows. At the time, I had a pretty good camera with a rapid shutter. For the 2013 round of photos, I had a pretty big lens, big enough so that some people around me were actually ducking from my lens.... THAT'S how to shoot an event!

These photos are random, and not photoshopped for perfection. They're mixed in from 2 years worth of shows as I said.

Nothing compares to seeing an air show like this, nothing. There's music blasting to get you going, but all bets are off on that as soon as the engines fire up. You hear nothing but jets. You can feel your entire insides rumbling, and the ground shakes. Smoke fills the air just before takeoff. The air becomes heavy with the smell of jet fuel.

I've been moved to tears at every show, don't ask me why, it just happens. That, along with an immense feeling of pride for our country, and gratitude for our heroes the world over.

This is "Fat Albert" a C-130 cargo plane.
It is absolutely huge.
The pilot pulls maneuvers in this plane that despite it's size, seems to defy gravity.
This is a good shot to show perspective of size. Incredible.
There's a fair amount of regimented what I call ceremony before the show.
It's very beautiful. Every step from every pilot, as well as crew, is purposeful.
I might put more pictures up another time showing all that.
Here, the pilots before they board their planes.

Taxiing down the runway.

The runway behind... cannot see them this angle.
The engines are so loud at this point, you can't hear yourself speak.

They're off!

Up to the sky.

The Blue Angels pilot on sight, not instruments.
They fly so close together.
They fly as one.

You cannot imagine the speed they are flying at with these maneuvers.


How many planes do you count in this photo?

Unbelievably, at some point, this osprey began to fly through the area.
He wouldn't leave.
I was freaking out.
There must have been a nest nearby.
It was beautiful, scary and ironic to watch.
Perhaps it was an osprey that inspired the first aviation engineers.
PS: The osprey was ok, unharmed, nothing bad happened.

Get your freak on!

"Smoke On!"
Hell yeah Commander!

There's one, then 5, then 3, then four.
Then they seem to disappear.
Then, they're reunited all together (7)
In perfect synchronicity.

Blue Angel Crown maneuver.


Rolling, diving and soaring in the sky.

They do this thing at the shows.... where they fly so slow, nose up.
Almost like they're simply hanging in the sky.
Right over the crowd, they Hang 10 (or whatever they call it officially!)
It's magnificent.

I am amazed.

High speed, low altitude, head on maneuver.
VERY high speed.

Poetry in motion.

U.S. Navy indeed.
U.S. Marines too, by the way, in case you didn't know.

Look carefully.
This is 2 planes, 1 upside down.

Terra Firma.

So many proud moments.

Whoops, out of order.... this was when I was front row in the VIP section.  OMG, a dream come true.
There was sensory overload at this moment.

Taxiing after the show.


Every pilot gets out and steps on their mark.
There's a lot of saluting.
It's very stunning to witness.

Damn, so much sacrifice and talent is in this photo.
I'm so humbled.

Yeah, damn good show!

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