The Good-- Nice selection of high end equipment there. F-22 demo, F-15E Strike Eagle demo, F-18 Super Hornet demo, Blue Angels. The weather was absolutely perfect and we beat the traffic getting in.
The Bad-- "Due to technical difficulties, the F-22 Raptor will be performing a low power demonstration." Aaarrgghh!! Came to see that Raptor's thrust vectoring and only got to see a very limited demo of it's flight capabilities. : Also, the F-86, one of my faves, was a no show.
The Ugly-- Most interesting moment: The P-51 landing after the Heritage Flight and watching the F-15 have to do a touch and go right behind it with full afterburner in order to avoid overtaking it on the runway.
Waiting on line for well over an hour in hot sun with no water to get on the shuttle buses back to the parking area.
Some Things I Learned--
- Airplanes go fast! Who'd have thought? It would be much easier to take photos if they would just fly much more slowly. You've got two, maybe three seconds at most to get your photos each pass. Of course this an obvious point, but you don't realize that pressure until you're there.
- Unless you're very experienced, don't try and zoom in too closely. I thought I'd zoom in so I wouldn't have to crop so much and could keep my photos sharp. Well, it's much easier to crop than to fix a great closeup of three quarters of an airplane. I've got lots of almost good photos due to overly ambitious zooming and the fact that-- planes are fast. Did I mention that already?
- OTOH, apparently I need a longer lens. How long? Just slightly longer than whatever lens I happen to be using.
- Set my Canon to the Sports setting. Allowed autofocusing on moving objects with continuously updated focus, but it set a higher ISO and many of my photos are much grainier than they needed to be, especially on such a sunny day.
- My Canon has a very bad tendency to show obvious blue edging along overexposed areas. Quite evident in some photos.
- I have this really irritating tendency to tilt my camera to the right of horizontal. C'mon, that's pretty basic-- hold the camera straight! Maybe one leg is shorter...
- I was determined to achieve the Holy Grail of Good Prop Blur. Like they say-- it's harder than it looks. Many of my photos came out quite blurry, including some of the Heritage Flight shots. Low shutter speeds are difficult enough. I learned NOT to try to combine them with zoom shots-- what looked great on my camera's little LCD display was very disappointing when I got home and downloaded them to my PC (my brother referred to my efforts as "Appeasing the Prop Nazis" ) I could get some prop blur even at 1/250 and zoom fairly safely. Don't be overambitious like I was.
The F-18 demo-- The Hornet looks like it means business even on the ground:
F-15E Strike Eagle:
The clean lines of the F-22:
Funny, he was able to find full power on his way back to base...
Where the Raptor hides its claws:
Kinda like this shot-- the F-22 through its heat signature. Note the wingtips are sharp:
Prop blur! Prop Blur! Another plane with clean lines: