My boss (check out his photos here) and I did a quick run to grab some pictures of the Blue Angels taking off and landing for their practice in advance of Seafair. They’re stationed at Boeing field while they’re in town, which has relatively decent access to the north end of the runway as well as a wide vantage at the south end.
We positioned ourselves at the north end, given the prevailing wind conditions, which allowed us to be right under the flight path for landing. Given the speed of the F/A-18, their first pass over the runway was a bit of a shock. There was really only a couple seconds of “warning” the planes were approaching. Fortunately, I’d made sure to check the settings on my camera to ensure I was in the appropriate continuous shooting mode and that the auto-focus system was set to track objects through the frame. For the purposes of this event, it worked perfectly! They made an initial high speed pass then came in one at a time for landing.
We grabbed a quick lunch and set up for take-off. Whereas landing was just for 5 and 6 (the solo planes), take-off comprised the primary diamond formation (planes 1 through 4) in addition to another two aircraft (I’m assuming 5 and 6, but not sure). We had lots of advance setup time and positioned ourselves again at the north end of the runway in the direction of take-off.
All up, the entire event was a lot of fun but with only several seconds of worthwhile photographic opportunity it was also quite difficult.