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Just because!
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This past weekend I was fortunate to be able to attend "Aviation Nation" at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas. Fortunate to say the least.

As some of you know, my Sister-in-Law will become the first Woman Thunderbird pilot in the 52 year history of the Thunderbirds on Nov 19th. I just happened to be in Vegas visiting my sister and meeting my 6 month old nephew for the first time on the same weekend as Aviation Nation was taking place.

Thanks to my sister-in-law, we were able to enjoy the "Friends and Family" VIP tent hosted by the Thunderbirds. The biggest benefit of being there was the tent was at show center, allowing me to photograph at the prime location where all the action was happening. :D I was able to watch the ground show up close, as well as Capt Malachowski in action dealing with people and press. She couldn't talk about her upcoming assignment as she isn't officially a Thunderbird until Nov. 19th.

Besides meeting past, present and future Thunderbirds, I got a chance to see the F/A-22 Raptor live for the first time. What a treat this was to see! The Air Force had a special tribute that included a P-51 Mustang, F-4 Phantom, and the F/A-22 Raptor flying in formation. What an impressive sight that was! I have always been a fan of the Phantom, the Mustang is one of my fave's from WWII, and the technological marvel that is the Raptor, I was in awe!
 

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Just because!
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Discussion Starter #2
Being at "Show Center" allowed me an unobstructed view of the runway. :D

I was able to put my Tamron 200-400mm f5.6 (on my Nikon D100, it becomes a 300-600mm thanks to the 1.5 magnification factor) through it's paces.


Here, the Thunderbirds main formation takes to the sky, gear just starting to come up.
 

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Just because!
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Discussion Starter #3
With me being A US Navy Sailor, aviation to be exact, for just a bit more than 6 years, the Air Force has always been the butt of the Navy Aviation community. For example:

A Navy seaman sitting on his 6' X 2' bunk, in a closet-sized room smelling of oil and rolling from the waves, which he shares with 60 other men, after not having seen the sky for 30 days says: "this really sucks".


An Air Force pilot sitting in an easy chair in an air conditioned hotel, holding a remote control, says: "no cable? this sucks!"

Needless to say, I still had thoughts of things like this as I entered Nellis AFB. This place looked great! The barracks looked more like hotels, where I saw cleaning people cleaning the barracks rooms, the grass was all green and perfectly manicured. The roads were smooth and clean. Certainly a change from a Navy base! (I am proud of my Navy service!) The Air Force knows how to take care of their people! The base was very nice!

Here is Thunderbird 5 piloted by Major Scottie L. Zamzow, hitting the afterburner.
 

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Just because!
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Discussion Starter #4
This is #5 Maj Scottie L. Zamzow (upside down)and #6 Maj Brian M. Farrar. I doubt you can see in these small shots, but the #5 is painted upside down just behind the intake. I caught a glimpse of Maj. Zamzow as he was leaving the show area, and his number was even sewn upside down on his flight suit. These Air Force people are crazy! ;)
 

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Just because!
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Discussion Starter #5
Here is all 6 Thnderbirds in the Delta formation:


#1 Lt Col Michael J. Chandler
#2 Maj J. Rusty Keen
#3 Maj D. Chris Callaghan
#4 Maj Steven P. Horton
#5 Maj Scottie L. Zamzow
#6 Maj Brian M. Farrar

This was also the final performance of the year for this team.
 

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Just because!
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Discussion Starter #6
I also got a chance to combine astrophotography and Aviation photography! Woohoo! :D

Of course, the jet was quite a distance away, but I think it turned out ok. ;)

(This is not a composite shot. Other than cropping the original and a bit of levels, this shot is unmolested!)
 

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2008 "Fowvay" yellow NB
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You are the man!

AWESOME! I volunteer at the Cleveland airshow every year just so I can spend the whole weekend watching from show center, can't beat that.

You know that whole taking care of their people thing that the air force does? That's why they are better pilots!:p

Got more? How bout some little aerobatic planes?:D
 

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Just because!
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Sukhoidave said:
You are the man!

AWESOME! I volunteer at the Cleveland airshow every year just so I can spend the whole weekend watching from show center, can't beat that.

You know that whole taking care of their people thing that the air force does? That's why they are better pilots!:p

Got more? How bout some little aerobatic planes?:D
Thanks Dave! I appreciate the compliments!

I do have some bad news for you though Dave, since I was there visiting my sister and 6 month old nephew, I didn't get to the show early enough to shoot the acrobatic parts of the show. I feel that I was extremely lucky to even have seen the P-51, F-4 and F-22 flying. Maybe next year I will be able to hit a few airshows and get some pics for ya! :p

I'll post one more Thunderbird pic and then I am heading to class.
 

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2008 "Fowvay" yellow NB
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jdesigns said:
Thanks Dave! I appreciate the compliments!

I do have some bad news for you though Dave, since I was there visiting my sister and 6 month old nephew, I didn't get to the show early enough to shoot the acrobatic parts of the show. I feel that I was extremely lucky to even have seen the P-51, F-4 and F-22 flying. Maybe next year I will be able to hit a few airshows and get some pics for ya! :p

I'll post one more Thunderbird pic and then I am heading to class.
The Raptor, Phantom, Mustang is a great shot and yes I would also consider it an honor to see that.

I have a book about airshows called Front Row Center. Your pics are as good as anything in there. Except that there is a lot of air to air shots.
 

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crank it up, suckers!
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Fantastic shots, Justin! What an incredible honor, for both you and your sister-in-law!
 

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What kind of camera, etc were you using on these shots? These are fantastic!
 

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Just because!
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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks Su and Jacob!! :wave:


I had Tamron 200-400mm f5.6 (which turns into a 300-600mm thanks to the 1.5X magnification factor) mounted on my Nikon D100. All these shots were handheld! (Yes, I had several that were blurry too!)

I was shooting at f8 and a shutter speed around 1/1000th sec. :D
 
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