Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Day 1 ~ Fleet Week in San Francisco

...will be a very busy time for me. I'll be offline for a few days while I am a Fleet Week volunteer at the Marina Green greeting people paying to see the Blue Angels and the Canadian Snowbirds flying.... plus two days of personal time to get some ~ hopefully ~ great snaps of flying birds of metal. I've always been fascinated by aircraft of all types even before I entered the military and that passion grows each and every year.

Tomorrow is the unofficial practice day for the flight teams to familiarize themselves with the area. Flight charts and briefs aren't enough; one must get into their element in order to see what is there, and these pilots are no exception to that rule. I'll be out early to get snaps with my brother, then Friday is my first day volunteering, continuing Saturday and the final day being Monday - a holiday - but will assist as I can with cleanup. Sunday I join my brother again to get some snaps of the aircraft again on their last official day of this very popular aerial dance in the skies above San Francisco and the Bay Area in general.

If you've never seen the Blue Angels in flight, then you're really missing out. It's a marvel when you consider they're flying at 100s of miles per hour so close together ~ sort of a ballet of metal and guts. This will be my third performance seen since I started living in the states again, but have seen this team perform at least five other previous occasions. This will be my first complete Fleet Week I've ever experienced, as I've lived outside of the City since I was young and this event started being celebrated during my absence. I've read about it, heard about it, and been very envious when my younger brother showed me his glorious pictures of the Blue Angels flying around town.... last year I was in attendance for a single day but I did get some pics..... now I'm here for everything, including the major traffic jams as crowds of people come to the City to watch and participate, and get out into the Streets of San Francisco while areas are blocked off due to flight safety issues.

Until Tuesday I won't be blogging at all, but I will post pixs here and at my flickr site of a few images from each day's shoot(s) Thursday and Sunday. Though I am taking my camera with me during my working at Fleet Week, photography is not my main goal as I'll be working for this organization and that comes first of course. If given the chance to snap some shots and not interfere with my duties, I'll do so.

If you're in the Bay Area, take care ~ don't forget ear plugs! The jets are noisy and loud; if you're close to the wharf you'll hear the jets all too well! Also think of your children and cover their ears ~ noise can damage young ears and once hearing loss is part of your life, it's pretty depressing. Otherwise: enjoy the show! If you're reading this from far and unable to make it here, enjoy the soon-to-be-posted imagery!

Each time I update this post about my participation in Fleet Week, I'll slightly change the main title of this post... so please visit each day looking for a revised title, meaning there's new content here! :-) Those who know me well realize that I try to display different images when I do post online at all. So just because a few pixs of this or that is at one site, doesn't mean at another site there will be the same. I'll post completely different images ~ I want each site to be unique, so remember this: visit both sites (here and at my flickr) to see the pixs and you won't be disappointed!

Day 1: I was freezing cold in the stiff strong breeze coming off the bay as we waited for the practice runs to begin. They were late over an hour but once they began, the crowd at my Fort Mason pier started to grow. It's amazing when one gets a pic of a jet seemingly slamming into the unfocused head of a bystander!! hahahahaa

I was amazed I could see, with my new eyes and NO eye drops to keep them moist. I'd blink a few times and everything was so pinpoint sharp till my eyes dried again, and that was quick. Still I was soooo amazed by how those jets appeared and I could even SEE them!! Amazing!!!!

Thinking the "show" was over, we all departed about 3:30pm, and I was so cold I even had a tea inside my most hated coffeehouse, a place whose name starts with a S and I think their rude service and gawd-awful lattes and "coffee" {at least they call it that} should be thrown to the lions. 45mins later on the road and passing through the downtown area, I could hear them flying around again, and it's unnerving and crazy trying to drive and not able to see the jets in flight. I was driving south on Van Ness as a formation of four jets fly straight up the street toward me, then over and leaving a screeching loud sonic boom behind them. I laughed as I looked around at the other drivers around me, all with windows down to watch the jets as they passed overhead, then covering their ears as the jets has passed! I wish I had the camera in hand. A few minutes later as I neared City Hall, I missed a fantastic sight to be captured as the same formation returned and flew overhead, with the dome in the foreground!

sigh!!

The pelicans were flying as usual and though I got some great snaps of them flying and gliding, I thought this pix was most appropriate for this first day, and how I felt....

1 comment:

  1. Oh I am jealous!!! I hopping on a plane right now and getting my butt over there to be you assistant. You do need an assistant don’t you?? This looks like so much fun, I can wait to see the rest of your photos. Enjoy your volunteer work.

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