Posts tagged “air force

The Blue Ghost, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, And My Fabulous Grandfather

The Blue Ghost

Many of these pictures are reruns but I thought I’d post them in honor of Pearl Harbor Day.  The aircraft carrier in the top image is the USS Lexington (CV-16) which was in service from 1943 through 1991 and now sits as a (very cool) museum in Corpus Christi, TX.  This image is a 3-exposure HDR.  I’m getting some odd pixelization on export from Lightroom which I can’t figure out but the point of posting this is not for the image’s sake itself anyway.

My grandfather joined the Navy during WWII (sometime after Pearl Harbor due to his age) and went through training to become a Navy pilot. I am very fortunate to have a 90-minute recording of him recounting his Navy experiences. My favorite quote: “I graduated from flight school on August 14th, 1945. The Japanese heard I was coming and surrendered the next day.” This is the most recent snapshot I have of him.

My Grandfather - Navy Veteran

Hope you enjoy the rest of these photos from various air shows I’ve attended.

Thunderbirds Headed To The Flight Line

Thunderbirds In Flight

B-1 Bomber (Handheld 3-exposure HDR)

B-1 Bomber

F-18 Engines (HDR)

F-15

Vintage Navy

Modern Navy

Blue Angels In Formation

Navy Trainers

The Golden Knights (Army)

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Thunderbirds In Formation

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/5161176356/

Thunderbirds In Formation 178mm, f/5.6, 1/750s

I recently spent a day with friends and family at AirFest 2010 at Lackland AFB in San Antonio.  It was my kind of air show — lots of high-performance jets.  There were F-15s, F-16s, an F-18, and an F-22.  In addition, the Thunderbirds gave a great show.

It’s always interesting photographing aerial performances.  The brightness of the sky can fool you camera’s meter into underexposing.  If there are lots of puffy, white clouds it’s even worse and you’re often left with blown-out clouds if you want to get the exposure correct on the planes.

For the shot above I can’t even decide what exposure I like the best.  Deep blue sky with slightly underexposed jets?  Brighten everything up to lighten the jets?  Use an adjustment brush to lighten the jets while keeping the sky deep blue (tried it — doesn’t look natural).  You can see what I settled on above.  In-camera I over-exposed 1/2 stop and increased the exposure a bit further in Lightroom.  This is a shot which seems to vary quite a bit depending on the monitor you’re viewing on so your mileage may vary.

I spent the day shooting with my all-purpose Sigma 18-250mm because I didn’t want to lug my Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS around.  It did OK but there is noticeable vignetting in many of the shots and just doesn’t match up with the Canon in sharpness (of course I didn’t expect it to).  I’ll bring the Canon next time for sure.


The Mighty B-1

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/4819569609/

The Mighty B-1

I remember the first and only time I saw a B-1 bomber (actually it was two of them) in flight.  My son and I were driving south on US 385 headed from Marathon to Big Bend National Park in the fall of 2004.  Cruising happily along, two B-1s buzzed diagonally across our path, a few hundred feet off the ground.  It was every bit as cool as any flyover I’d seen before.

I thought about that pass here and there over the years and didn’t quite know what to make of it.  Why were they flying so low?  Why were they flying in that vicinity?  I learned the answers at an airshow I recently attended in Kingsville, TX.  A pilot informed me that the jets were most likely out of Dyess AFB near Abilene, TX and were doing exercises using the below-the-radar flying capabilities of the planes.  The semi-mountainous terrain in that area is perfect for that type of flying — stretches of flat land with mountains jutting from the landscape here and there.

The B-1 fleet is (potentially) slated for retirement due to budget constraints and the changing nature of air warfare.  I really don’t have enough knowledge to have any comments on that but I’m glad I got to see a couple of them fly while they were still in service.  Some of the history and technical info on wikipedia and other sites is a fascinating read if you like that sort of thing.

The image above is a single exposure, no tonemapping…just some curves/levels/sharpness adjustments.  I think it gives a good feel for the size and sleekness of this awesome plane.  You can view an HDR of the underside of a B-1 bomber on flickr here.