Warriors over the Wasatch – Thunderbirds Airshow June 28, 2014 – Part 2 of 3


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Part 2 of 3, you can see part 1 here

With the Pitts taxiing in to park I left to check out the two newest planes in the Air Force’s arsenal the F-35 Lightning II and the F-22 Raptor Both were roped off and surrounded by guards, sadly the F-22 didn’t fly this year as it did a few years ago when I was unable to go. Both are very sleek machines to say the least, but finding a good angle was tough with the cluttered and boring background, crowds, ropes, and limited area around the planes. Getting in tight was about the only thing to do. Sure wish they had flown…

F-22 Headon CloseupF-22 RaptorF-35 -side view  F-35 Lightning IIF-35-front quarter viewF-35 Lightning IIF-35 cockpit closeup-off centerF-22_F-35 nozzles-abstractF-22 and F-35 tail ends are all angles!F-35 Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS)The F-35’s Electro-optical target system (EOTS)  F-35 headon closeup 2shot stitch-BWF-35 rear view BWF-35 rear view vertLook at the size of that afterburner!F-22 rearview-petal horz-BWThe F-22’s Nozzle petals wide openF-22 rearview-petal closeup-vert

Make sure to click through to see much much more with lots of Flight Demos and two of my favorite planes in a Heritage flight.

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Warriors over the Wasatch – Thunderbirds Airshow June 28, 2014 – Part 1 of 3


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The last time I saw the Thunderbirds at Hill Air Force Base I was using a Canon Powershot A710 point and shoot camera.  I was super excited to finally have a “real” camera to shoot them this time around.

I’ll spare you all the gritty details of waking up early, traffic, parking, waiting in line to tour planes, big umbrellas in your sight line, sunburns and oh wait well…there you go.

It would be an understatement to say that I took a lot of shots, thank goodness for 32GB cards, but what I wouldn’t have given for a D4s and its huge buffer and frame rate. My poor D7000 even in bright sunlight had a tough time keeping focus at times and I missed plenty of shots waiting for that stupid buffer to clear

Also a quick disclaimer on the names of the performers and their aircraft, I’m going off of the online schedule, but I think a few were changed around so please forgive me if there are any errors, if you know what should be corrected please let me know and I’ll fix it.

On with the pictures in chronological order (ish)


Thunderbird parked and waiting.

We arrived plenty early to walk through a few planes before any of the flight demos began.

B1-Cockpit-InteriorLooking to the Cockpit of a B-1b Bomber from the hatch behind the front landing gear.(it’s as far as they let us go)

B-1b_front side Fisheye B1b_C5_KC-10 pano B-1B, KC-10 Extender and C-5A Galaxy.C5-interior tail to noseInside the C-5A GalaxyC-130 front view_bare-fisheye

A “Naked” Herc
C-130 porthole view1Loved this view from one of its porthole windows.Kyle_Kyra_C130-cockpit-fisheye1

My kids in the cockpit of a C-130 Hercules.

A-10 Cockpit-vert A-10 Warthog CockpitA-10 Gun closeup

The business end of the A-10 Warthog the mighty GAU-8 “Avenger” 30mm Gatling Cannon.

Kyra_F-16 Pilot-cockpit My daughter was able to talk with a Red Flag Aggressor pilot. Seeing that F-16 cockpt really shows off just how old and tiny those planes really are.

F-16 Agressor patch

F-16-Agressor cannon closeupThe slightly less mighty, but still lethal M61-A1 Vulcan 20mm Gatling Cannon on the F-16.

Thunderbirds_tarmac lineup pano

Thunderbirds lined up and waiting their turn.

The flight demonstrations began with the US Army’s “Golden Knights” Parachute team

Golden Knight_out of the Sun-closeup Golden Knight_out of the Sun Golden Knight_Flag arrival2 Golden Knight_Flag arrival

The first flight demo was a threesome flying an MX and Edge 540‘s Pilots listed were Holland, Stein and Chapman.

Holland-Stein-Chapman-loop closeup Holland-Stein-Chapman-hammerheads-vert Holland-Stein-Chapman-demo1 Holland-Stein-Chapman-crossoverNext was Mark Peterson in his gorgeous P-51 Mustang (The sexiest looking and sounding plane ever made!) This was the first time I tried to shoot a prop driven plane at a slower shutter speed to get prop blur, so they didn’t come out as sharp as I would have liked as I don’t shoot pan shots often. I definitely need more practice, but I like the blurred propellers more than the frozen ones so I’ll take what I can get.

Mark Peterson-P-51_Heritage Flight Takeoff1Mark Peterson-P-51_slow roll1 Mark Peterson-P-51_inverted1 Mark Peterson-P-51_high speed pass1 Mark Peterson-P-51_Heritage Flight finale solo flyby2-inverted Mark Peterson-P-51_Heritage Flight finale solo flyby1 Mark Peterson-P-51_Heritage Flight solo flyby1

We’ll see more of the P-51 in the Heritage Flight later.

An airman enjoys the best seat in the house on top of a C-17 Globemaster.

Best Seat_C-17 spectatorNext up flying was the spritely Pitts of Buck Roetman  with lots of flips rolls and stalls and smoke!

Buck Roetman-Pitts-crawling climb2 Buck Roetman-Pitts-stall and smoke2 Buck Roetman-Pitts-stall and smoke1-BW

Add in a powered Hang Glider piloted by Dan Buchanan and you get a weird aerial ballet

Buck Roetman-Pitts-Dan Buchanan-hangglider fly by2 Buck Roetman-Pitts-Dan Buchanan-hangglider fly by1Buck Roetman-wavingWith a blast from the past Ace Maker flew his T-33

T-33 Low level pass1 T-33 bank pass3 T-33 bank pass2 T-33 bank pass1 T-33 Low level pass2Anyone that’s been to an airshow or lives near a municipal airfield has probably heard the unique sound of a Stearman, they’re noisy and slow, but rock steady planes that were used to train thousands of pilots in the 1930’s and 40’s.

This is Gary Rower and his PT-17 

Gary Rower_PT17-photo pass and handwave2 Gary Rower_PT17-photo pass and handwave Gary Rower_PT17-2nd flight-inverted headon Gary Rower_PT17-smokey pass-Mtn backgroundStay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of the airshow, I’ll show some more civilian aerobatics and lots of military ones!

Happy Shooting!


Memphis Belle – Scratch “Go inside a B-17 bomber” off the Bucket List


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I took it as a sign of fate when I stumbled upon the news report announcing that the B-17 used in the movie “Memphis Belle” would be flying into and staying for a few days at the municipal airport literally just up the street from my home.  I couldn’t believe it, I was not going to miss this!

As we drove up to the airport we noticed that the Memphis Belle was circling the airfield prior to landing so we stopped right under the approach at the end of the airfield fence and I caught a few shots of her landing.



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The Manti Pageant – A Summer day trip to feed the soul.


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Every Year for two extended weekends at the end of June the small sleepy town of Manti, Utah transforms into one of the largest outdoor theaters in the world with well over 100,000 spectators each season and around 1,000 volunteers directly involved in putting on a play that displays important events in the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and events from the Book of Mormon. Officially called the Mormon Miracle Pageant, but more commonly known as the “Manti Pageant” this massive undertaking to present a visual performance art feast for the soul has been happening every year since 1967. I first saw this at the end of a church youth conference when I was 14 years old and again at 21 years old right after I had returned from my church mission to Italy. Since then I have often wanted to attend, but never seemed to find the time. This year I wanted to make sure that my family would be able to experience it so we decided to make a day trip out of it on the last Thursday of the pageant hoping to avoid the larger weekend crowds.

The weather would prove to be a challenge as it had rained all week and was cloudy and threatening rain all day, but ultimately it resulted in a nice sunset although the streaming low clouds cut off what would have been a truly spectacular display of color mere moments before it was able to peak.

Trying to capture decent pictures of the Manti Temple during the pageant is near impossible as the best view is spoiled by 14,000 metal chairs, large scaffolding holding lights and audio gear and the pageant set pieces on the temple hill itself. Getting creative takes on new meanings here. Thankfully the temple sits up on a large hill and there are hundreds of trees around to help hide distractions. With that in mind here are a few of my attempts to get a shot.

Manti Temple-Mammatus Clouds-vert-HDR1 Temple_wide-Cloud streaks  WSW view-HDR-BWThe clouds had been low and pretty featureless all day, however as the sun began to set they exploded into a wonderful display of mammatus and streaking cirrus that I was barely able to catch as I only had my 18-200mm with me and had to run back to our seats and my camera bag to grab the 10-20mm so I could fit it all in.

With the break up of the cloud cover the fun really started.

Temple_close_Cloud streaks  WSW view-HDR-color Temple_vert-Cloud streaks  WSW view-HDR-color  Continue reading


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