US Navy Blue Angels Air Show | Brunswick Maine Photographer
The US Navy Blue Angels Air Show in Brunswick Maine is a highlight for me. Every time! I’ve been attending Blue Angels Air Shows here, and even out of state, since childhood. And it absolutely never gets old. This year was no exception.
It was a coincidental but well-timed weekend off from our usual wedding work. That meant I was able to attend two practice shows plus two ‘official’ air shows.
Trying out our new gear
Another aspect of the air show was being able to photograph with our new cameras and lenses. On the first day I used one of our previous generation DSLR cameras. On that camera was mounted our longest focal length lens. I realized good results but things were soon to improve dramatically.
The subsequent days let me test out a different setup. This new setup was three of our new Canon R5 and R6 mirrorless camera bodies with new RF lenses and the aforementioned long focal length lens mounted to one of the new cameras with an adapter. The results blew me away. There was detail that these compressed blog post images just cannot adequately transcribe.
These new RF lenses focused fast and at these multi-hundred miles per hour subjects; the raw files allowed for never-before seen resolution and detail in both the aircraft and the much-brighter sky behind them; and shot at up to 20 frames per second.
It’s no wonder I took over 24,000 photos (!) over the course of four days. And it’s a good thing our post-production workflow (software and hardware) supports the review, editing, and processing of that many photos in literally just a few hours.
It was also fun to try to get some “artsy” perspectives on the air show by using a wide lens. Wide lenses are typically not the first lens of choice for air show photography. But a variety of lenses imparts a variety in the photos, I’d say.
Incredible, unmatched flying precision
The USNavy was proudly flying their newest aircraft in this current Blue Angels configuration, the Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet. And these too certainly didn’t disappoint. Photos, words, or even video cannot adequately begin to describe. The gut-throbbing feel of one of these airplanes screaming by at several hundred miles per hour at just a few hundred feet over your head is a force to behold.
The photos that follow are some of my top picks from those thousands I took.
Back about precision: make note, if you will, to the one vertical shot that follows, with the close-ups of the pilots in the plane’s cockpits. The lowest plane is the leader, and this pilot is of course looking forward. But note all the other pilots – they are looking to their immediate left. Looking left to the plane next to them, not ahead. It’s in this way they maintain their precise alignment that at times separates them wingtip to wingtip by as little as 18″.
It’s noted that some of these photos were made on the first practice day, which afforded access to certain locations that were off-limits on the other days. It really helps living just 5 minutes away and getting to these locations as soon as the sound of the jets starting up was heard. The four days of differing weather accounts for the varying skies seen in the photos. I hope you enjoy, and please feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post. And now back to regularly-scheduled wedding work!