Monday, April 1, 2019

Annual Air Show Was a "Meh"

This was our annual air show weekend and despite waiting patiently in the backyard for my chance to grab some good shots, I've been unable to equal the kind of shots I've gotten of the Blue Angels in 2015 or my best shots of the Thunderbirds in 2017.  First off, the weather was very overcast on Saturday, and not much better Sunday.  Considering they started earlier in the day on Sunday, I'm guessing they delayed as long as they could on Saturday to let the clouds blow through.   

In addition to the weather, the airshow stayed closer to the airport.  Part of that might be that the featured show was neither the Blue Angels nor the Falcons, but an F-35 Lightning Demo Team, a team that figures to be new and may not have their show figured out, yet.  Or their show may just be fundamentally different and not as showy as the other two, just as the Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds are different shows.  The clouds and winds might have had something to do with it, but they just simply didn't fly as far toward me (north of the airport) as the other teams have.

For example, this is about as good a shot as I could manage of an F-35.

This is a 1:1 crop out of a much bigger original.  It's roughly 1150 x 800 pixels taken out of an image that was 3984 x 2656.  For comparison, here's one of my favorite pictures from 2015.  It's from a picture that was originally 3456 x 2034 picture and shrunk to 1152 x 768 with no cropping whatsoever.  That means each airplane image has been reduced to nearly 1/3 size of the raw picture so that if I had isolated one F-18 and cropped it at 1:1 it would have nearly filled this image size - if I had managed to get one of them completely in the frame.

That's a world of difference in image size. 


  1. Thunderbirds were up here at Travis AFB this weekend for their Air show. The F-22 demonstrator here was much more impressive than it sounds like the Thunderpig was there. Got some pretty decent shots with my 70-200f2.8L II and 2x extender on my 6d:

    1. Really good work!

      If I'm not mistaken, the 6D is a full frame sensor. I shot with a Canon T6i, and a relatively low end Sigma 70-300, f4-5.6. The smaller sensor makes it more like a 500 on your camera. I set the ISO speed up to 1600 this weekend so that I can keep shutter speeds around 1/1500 second with the aperture at f16, and manually focus on infinity. That speeds each shot up a bit since it doesn't have to hunt for focus. Then I just wait for something to get close enough to jump on the shot.

      The older shot was the same lens but a T3i - I "upgraded" to the T6i not quite 18 months ago.

  2. The F-35 is a stealth aircraft; there were actually 24 of them in the picture, that's just the one they wanted you to see....

  3. I was going to make a similar stealth quip; it was over your yard....only looks far away.

  4. My first time seeing the Blue Angels they were flying F-4's, the second time they flew A-4's and the last time they were in FA-18's--Ray

  5. You missed the greater miracle:
    you saw an F-35 in the air and apparently under control.

    Someone should alert the Pentagon that the Thunderjug occasionally works.