San Francisco’s Fleet Week 2012

I love airplanes. Specifically the classic WWII planes, spitfires and mustangs and the like. I was never very good at building models but I bought them anyway, and have a giant scar on my thumb to remind me to never be trusted with an exacto knife. And somehow I have always managed to miss Fleet Week here in SF, but just barely. The Blue Angels would roar past our office, and I’d just catch a glimpse. Last year I rode down to the water, only to have the show get cancelled upon my arrival because of the fog.

This year decidedly was going to be different. I made it down to the water on both Saturday and Sunday, and was ready to go. I lucked out and first sat next to a family with a young son who knew more about all the planes than 95% of everyone there. I learned a lot just overhearing them, and learned about a high speed flyover that would happen when everyone least expected it. The nerd in me got excited seeing the F22 Raptor, as that is the the plane Starscream transforms into in Transformers. And when the Blue Angels came out, everyone was all smiles. And when one of them did the high speed flyover exactly over us, my bones rattled, and all the adults and I couldn’t contain our laughter and smiles. It was like we were all kids again, but it truly was just an awesome experience. On day 1 I got most of the traditional looking pictures.

Day 2 my buddy visited and San Francisco was being difficult. The other planes had to cut their routines down, and the Blue Angels got pushed back. But we headed over to Fort Point and waited it out. Turns out we were right in the middle of the action there, and it was intense. We were scrambling around, yelling out the planes positions, trying to figure out where they were going and if one had snuck behind us. I have been shooting photos for as long as I can remember, which would be when I got a ninja turtle camera that superimposed a ninja turtle in every photo, but I can’t recall having this much fun shooting before. You can prepare all you want, but everything is out of your control, and the best you can do is fire away at these jets. Thinking you may have gotten the shot after having getting buzzed just a few hundred feet over your head is quite a rush. Watching them head towards the ocean, only to turn around and head straight towards you, frankly, is just awesome. As you can tell from my past photos, I love the Golden Gate bridge, and love shooting it from any angle. Being at Fort Point was awesome, as we got a ton of direct flyovers, and were pretty much by ourselves up there.

Next year I’ll do my best to be there again, and maybe even rent a big lens for the occasion. If you can check it out, I would definitely recommend it!

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