With this blog post, I broke one of my own rules… In fact, it’s my rule number 1. Don’t share photos that are not as sharp as possible. But I have a good reason. I wanted to see what my equipment can do, and share the result.
The image above was shot with my Nikon D7000 using my longest lens, a Tamron 18-270 mm lens at full zoom, then cropped in Lightroom and tweaked for maximum sharpness. The Tamron lens is inexpensive for its range, and the lens sacrifices sharpness and speed for low cost. Given that, it’s my most versatile lens and the only one I have that could get me “up close and personal” with the Navy Flight Demonstration Team. In the image above, the pilot’s features are not sharp, but they are sharp enough to see the lead pilot (upper) is looking straight ahead, and the wingman is looking to the right directly at the other pilot, exactly as he should be.
For comparison, the image above is the fully uncropped exposure at the camera’s full 16 megapixel resolution. But I digress… this is a Travel Tuesday post, it shouldn’t be about the photography, but about the event.
Every other year, Fargo hosts the Fargo Airsho!, featuring the Blue Angels. The event draws thousands during the weekend, bringing their own chairs, finding whatever convenient shade at a vantage point to get the best views of the show’s performers.
Static displays of aircraft, historic and brand new, fill the airport ramp. Aerobatic performances ensure that people are entertained while they await the show-stopping performance of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team.
As a Civil Air Patrol pilot, I felt compelled to share an image of one of the CAP aircraft I fly on missions. The Cessna 182 is a workhorse of the Civil Air Patrol, probably the most common aircraft in the organization’s fleet. It’s not sleek and sexy like many of the newer style private aircraft, but the aircraft fits the CAP typical mission profile for the majority of CAP missions. But, there I go, digressing again… back to the Fargo Airsho!
When this Lockheed Martin C130 Hercules takes to the skies, the crowd knows the Blue Angels will be in the air soon. “Fat Albert”, the Blue Angels’ maintenance aircraft accompanies the team carrying support equipment and personnel. For over a quarter-century, Fat Albert was “assisted” in a high performance take-off by eight Jet-Assisted Take-Off (JATO) rockets. A left-over from the Vietnam era, the supply of JATO bottles was expended during the 2009 airshow season. Even without the JATO assist, Fat Albert is master at short-field high performance takeoffs and landings. The expert U.S. Marine pilots demonstrate the aircraft’s capabilities as a lead-in to the Navy pilots flying Boeing F/A-18 Hornets.
The six aircraft in Delta formation. A seventh aircraft with a passenger seat is available to substitute in case one of the six fails a maintenance check. Number 7 always arrives a few days early to the show’s venue and makes E-Ticket rides available to members of the press. I submit for your approval, a gallery of images taken at the 2015 Fargo Airsho! Click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.