My first really big air show and it’s in my home state of Florida. I started thinking about it last year when my brother-in-law mentioned that it was right in his back yard. After being grounded and trying to find a way to stay connected to flying, planes and people that love aviation, I started looking for some air shows to go to and photograph. Sun-n-Fun just happens to be the one that kicks off the season.
With my new camera, and an on-line photography class under my belt, I felt like I was ready to try my new skills out on a big air show. I decided that since this is new to me, I wanted to make sure I had a good spot for taking photos. I figured that was really important. I bought VIP passes to put us near the flight line. I also wanted a big lens to get me close to the action. I decided to rent one rather than spend the money to buy one right now, until I had a chance to try it out and see what works best for me.
The camera shop didn’t have the lens I wanted to try available for the week, a Canon 100-400mm, but offered me what they said was as good a lens in the Tamron 150-600mm. I was a little disappointed at first but decided to read some reviews on it. After checking out some You Tube videos and reading up on it, I decided it was worth a shot and about half the price of the Canon, so I thought I’d give it a go. I think it worked beautifully, and it’s definitely on my list to purchase down the road.
I was so amazed at how big the Sun-n-Fun air show was that I couldn’t get through to look at everything because I was taking so many pictures and admiring the planes everywhere. It was amazing. I’m going to highlight some of my favorite pictures and planes and just tell you I had so much fun that I wish I had gone for the whole week. So, next year, that’s how I’ll plan it so I can get around to seeing everything instead of just pieces.
There were so many planes to see and admire. I took my time and photographed as many as I could. Here are a few of my favorites.
It’s a toss up between the WACO and the Pitts Biplanes for me as they are both so beautiful. They have so much character to them and they just scream of adventure. Taking to the skies in one of these to do aerobatics is a dream for me.
I can’t say I don’t love a Stearman too. The open motor on the front just looks powerful.
One thing for me at this air show, I got see some planes I’ve never seen before or even heard of, like this Liberty Ford Tri-motor. It’s just gorgeous. It shines so beautifully in the sun with the metallic body. I love unique and unusual looking planes. I think they’re all wonderful, but some have more character than others.
The stars of the show were the USAF Thunderbirds in their F16’s. What a show they put on! I haven’t seen them fly since I was in the Air Force. It was amazing to see them again. It’s hard to take your eyes off of them when they soar and speed over head with their boisterous engines screaming past. Near misses, beautiful rolls and spins take your breath away.
This was the first time I’ve ever seen sky diving live and it was awesome to see these folks jump from the airplanes, circle around and land so effortlessly on the runway. It was just plain fun to see. I might have to try this one day.
I thought the Curtiss JN4 was a breath-taking piece of history, and to see it fly was astonishing. It looked like a page out of history was floating across the skies in front of me. It wasn’t until I did some research that I found out that it’s a replica of the original. They have a website all about the building of it. http://www.friendsofjenny.org/ I love researching planes and finding about each of them. They are all unique with a special character all their own, and a presence that you can just feel rolling off of them when you’re fortunate enough to be near them.
Awe, the Breitling Jet Team in their first appearance in the United States and I got to see them live! They put on a beautiful, poetic show. I love the music they play, it’s like you’re watching the ballet and the planes are dancing across the skies in perfect rhythm. It was an amazing performance, and I feel very special about getting the opportunity to photograph these gorgeous planes and see these wonderful pilots perform.
Another first for me was seeing the F22 Raptor live at the show. It’s a very beautiful aircraft with long sleek lines from the side. I wish I had seen it flying, but stationary was pretty amazing too.
I took almost 3000 pictures. It’s hard to sort through them all, but I like to look and ponder each shot to see what I like best. If the angle was right, did I capture the essence of the plane, it’s true character, something special, like the name or something that just stands out and grabs you when you look at it? I had so much fun photographing the planes with my new gear that I can’t wait until the next air show, so I can do it all again.