Saturday, March 27, 2010


I'd hoped to finish up the Airfest pictures today, but I was out all day taking pictures. And I really don't have time to share all of the new ones since it's so late now. Maybe tomorrow. But here's a little taste of what I shot today. You like?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Terns Tonight

I went out to the beach tonight for sunset, first time in quite a while I'd been out there. Sunset was a bust, but I got some good bird pictures. I especially liked this picture of a tern landing among a group of other terns. Pretty lucky that the focus was on the right bird at the right time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Up In The Airfest 2010-Part 19

Yes, believe it or not, there were still more jumpers. This time 5 guys came out and formed a cross. This was a little different from the morning show where they formed a ring. I guess it gets boring doing the same thing every time. This is a very tight crop, so it's a bit grainy. Gotta love that 70-200mm F2.8L lens, though. You couldn't crop this tight on a kit lens.


Love that pink smoke against the deep blue sky. I should have been shooting with a polarizer.

This series of jumpers was decked out with various flags. I couldn't tell you what each one of them was, but here's a red one.

Unfortunately, the jumper who came down closest to us had a defective flag. Look close and you'll see it's still balled up underneath the canopy of his chute. He's also got a camera on his head.

And when the camera-headed jumper landed, I almost got a picture of him putting his feet down. But as usual, too many people were there to give me a clear view. I had to crop people out on both the left and right side of this shot, as a matter of fact.

Up In The Airfest 2010-Part 18

After the previous solo jumper, two more guys bailed out and began to plummet to the Earth. Even after they deployed their chutes, they spun in tight spirals, almost as if out of control.

But I'm sure they knew what they were doing. It sure did look cool with the smoke streaming out behind them. Sort of like that dancing they do with the ribbons on a stick. What's the name for that? Rhythmic gymnastics, maybe?

One of the two jumpers came down on the end of the runway we were at, so I was able to get some pictures of him as he got close.

There were a lot more people in attendance this time of the day, so I wasn't able to get pictures of the jumpers all the way to the ground. Well, I did, but they're obscured by too many people, so there's nothing worth sharing.

Up In The Airfest 2010-Part 17

I think I started out my series of pictures from Airfest 2010 with some jumpers, and the came back in the afternoon for another jump. I cropped the first few pictures here within an inch of their lives, but you get the see the very moment where the chute deploys, so I thought that was kinda cool.

Here's the main chute deploying after the first little chute has pulled it out.

And the chute fills up with air, allowing the paratrooper to actually guide himself as he hurtles towards the ground.

I think this is just a cool shot, with the thick smoke coming out of a canister strapped to his ankle.

And out comes Old Glory, much to the delight of the crowd below.

Why is the flag always flying the wrong way in my better shots?

The flag is the right way in this one, but the jumper is in full shade from the canopy. *sigh*

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Up In The Airfest 2010-Part 16

Do you like your airplanes big? They don't come much bigger than this.

This is the C-17 Globemaster III, which I believe is the largest military cargo aircraft. They can load tanks into this thing and fly them around the world.

It can even fly with it's landing gear in the down and locked position.

And it can turn on a dime. Well, a really large dime, but still pretty short for such a large bird.

It's tough to see the top side of this thing when it's on the ground because it's so tall. So here's a nice view for you.

More of the top...

And more of the bottom, this time without the landing gear. You saw this plane earlier on the blog dropping off parachutists. This was it's second appearance at the show. I guess they wanted all the later arrivals to get a good look at it. After it landed and was taxiing back to the staging area, they demonstrated the use of the reverse thrusters, actually making the plane move backwards down the runway. I'd post some pictures of that, but there's really nothing to see in a still photo...


Every year I've gone to the Macdill Airfest, they've had this Studebaker pickup truck sitting out among the static plane displays. This year it was actually in a hangar with all sorts of other displays and booths. I have no idea if it has any sort of historical significance, or if someone at the airbase owns it and is really proud of it. As you can see, it was getting plenty of action, especially considering it's a truck at an airshow. I don't know any of those people posing with it in either picture, I just couldn't seem to find a moment to shoot it when there wasn't anybody else around.

Next Weekend

I found out a few days ago that perhaps my favorite local band, The Vodkanauts, would be performing perhaps one of my favorite albums, Pink Floyd's The Wall, in it's entirety for two shows next Friday night. That's April 2nd, in case you see this post too late. I shot some pictures of these guys last year at Tropical Heatwave, posted a few to the blog, and got an email a little while later from a band member asking if they could post them to their website. I was tickled pink that the band cared about my pictures, so I sent them all of the good ones.

When I heard about this Floyd show, I decided I wanted to shoot it. I fired off an email to the guitarist, who I'd sent the pictures to last time, and he said come on up. He even invited me to a rehearsal the night before the show!

So I am stoked about getting to see a band I like, playing music I like, and I get to take pictures with their blessing! How cool is that?

Now I have to rent a couple of nice lenses that can shoot in the dark. Can't just use any old equipment. :) Wish me luck!

Up In The Airfest 2010-Part 15

Here are a few views of the popular Heritage Flight from Macdill Airfest 2010 this past weekend. Heritage Flights are a grouping of old and new military aircraft flying in formation, saluting the proud history of military aviation. This particular flight included an F-15 and a P-51 Mustang, both of which flew solo demos before this tandem flight.

It's an impressive sight to see a 60 year old piece of hardware flying alongside a modern mechanical wonder. Prop power versus jet fuel, aluminum versus titanium, cable controls versus fly-by-wire. I could go on but I'm out of words.

As impressive as this pairing may seem, I've seen better. They've had three and even four planes together in the air before at these airshow, and for my money, the more the merrier.

Hmmm, I just noticed that every single one of the Heritage Flights I've shot and linked to above feature this exact same P-51, as well as an F-15 that is probably not the same one. I guess Crazy Horse is a popular plane. Aha! I knew I had one that didn't feature Crazy Horse. It's a similar flight by Navy Planes called Tailhook.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Up In The Airfest 2010-Part 14

No doubt many of you have been waiting for me to get to this part of my pictures from Airfest 2010 at Macdill this year. I've finally gotten to the jets. This is an F-15. It's one of the most amazing things you'll ever see flying through the air.

It was getting late in the day when they got this baby up in the air, and the way we faced the fly zone put me at a bit of a disadvantage with the camera. I was shooting into the sun, so some of these came out quite a bit darker than I would have liked.

But I think you'll get the idea that this is a fast, agile, scary and amazing plane.

Those flames coming out the back end when the pilot hits the afterburners just amaze me.

The on-board computers don't seem to care if it's flying right side up or up side down. It just goes where it's told.

It's amazing how the water vapor sometimes streams off the wings or the tail. In this case it swirled off of the back for whatever reason. But just for a second. The pictures above and below are the only two that showed that particular behavior.

The streams off the wingtips happened a lot more frequently. It would start all of a sudden, then it would go away, as if it had never been there. It's a weird effect.

I love that afterburner!

I know, it's way too many pictures, but I just loved some of these. Trust me, there are hundreds more that I'm not showing you.