The Blue Angels

For the first time in almost 30 years, The Blue Angels came to Lynchburg and put on quite a show. I was eight years old the first time they came and, by sheer happenstance, I caught sight of their diamond formation in the sky miles from our yard. I remember cheering when I saw it.

This time around, they buzzed over my car days prior to their show as they scoped out the area for the performance. That prompted me to catch their pre-show practice on Friday from a side ride outside of the airport. The experience was amazing, but also threatened to make me stone deaf. It’s amazing how many shots you miss when you’re opting to clutch your head in pain rather than look through the viewfinder. It’s also amazing how hard it is to operate six pounds of camera with both hands clamped to your ears. Note to self: if you do this again, bring earplugs.

I spent Saturday (the first day of the official show) having a great time at Crabtree Falls. With the heavy rain we’ve had lately, I knew the falls would be thundering rather than trickling like they had been during my last few visits. I primarily went, though, to spend a few hours with a friend, helping her take her first shots with a new Canon 7D while she listened to me yammer on endlessly about light, aperture, shutter speed, ISO and a lot of other things. Shannon, however, ran with it just fine and was taking some gorgeous shots of the falls in the few hours we spent there.

When I heard that Fat Albert (the Angel’s C-130) had arrived late Saturday due to an engine repair last week, it got me charged up to give it one more shot today. I really wanted to see the Blue Angels again (wearing earplugs this time) as well as watch that amazing moose of a C-130 claw (hoof!?) its way into the sky.

The bright blue skies were nice in some ways, but my location (again, outside of the official show… I’m just not a fan of baking under the sun in a field for five or six hours with thousands of others and 450 porta-johns) meant the sun was going to be more my enemy than my friend. Silhouettes from back-lighting and harsh shadows are always irritating… but I did my best with it. Above all, though, I enjoyed the show and (with my ears protected this time) managed to thoroughly enjoy the literal bone shaking you get when four F/A-18 Hornets fly right over your head.

As with all posts here, the full set of photos can be found on my gallery site: http://photos.halfpress.com/blueangels

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