Blue Angels performance

Every year the Blue Angels come to Seattle to perform at the hydroplane races on Lake Washington.  Every year I go up to a house on the lake and photograph them–I must have a couple thousand pictures of them–most of which I have to delete for one reason or the other.  This year I invited some photographer friends of mine to photograph them as well.  the Angels perform three days—two of which are really practices–but who would know.  They are amazing when they practice.

I have a few images from each day that were my favorites.


Fat Albert usually starts the show–it is a signal that the Angels are coming.  On the day of the races Fat Albert did not fly, due to mechanical problems.

This plane circles around the house we were shooting from.  It is so hard to catch it as it is in and out so fast.

Usually four of the six man team fly together in some formation while the two other jets fly together.

When they fly with their landing gear down they are flying “dirty”

They fly no lower that  500 feet, but he looks much lower.

Just circled over our heads.

These two were flying slow and nearly vertical–standing on their tails–here they are separating and one will continue straight  ahead while the other climbs in a pretty steep climb to a high altitude the circles around and meets up with his partner.

Six together for one final pass over the race course to say Goodbye Seattle.

And then they surprised us and came back the other way.


This time I caught the jet flying over the house—

The jets seem to be flying closer to  our location on this day.

This jet comes in low across the bridge and it is not noticed until he is almost gone because the sound does not keep up with it.  I knew it was coming and was ready it.

Trim your trees???

These are the jets flying almost vertical and slowly.

I like the airliner in the background.

Organized chaos.

One of the final flyovers as a team.

Next year I will rent a huge lens so we can read the dials in the cockpit—-just kidding.

Good bye Seattle–actually they circle around Seattle out over Elliot Bay and make themselves visible to the crowds there.  They don’t do a show–just turn the smoke on.

It is fun to capture the Angels and quite challenging as well. We are on the side of the lake where we are looking into the sun to shoot.  I shoot at about 800 but I didn’t pay much attention to my aperture which should have and could have been f/11 or so.  Some of my shots involving two planes would have been much clearer–with both planes in focus.

Seriously about renting the big lens–maybe 500mm or so –I am going to do that next year.  I shot with a 70-200mm –not really made for this kind of shooting.

Thanks for stopping by.

About ~ ~ joanne.thomas.photographer~~

I am retired, starting a new career. I love shooting portraits. People are so fun and interesting--I try to bring out there personalities and capture them in images. Children are especially interesting little people, who love to tell you all they know and are so uninhibited. I enjoy shooting weddings to capture all the details and emotions of the day. Between photo sessions I keep shooting --to learn, to experiment--to create art. The industry is ever evolving and I want to give my clients the most exciting and lasting images, full of their love of life expressing their personality.
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2 Responses to Blue Angels performance

  1. It looks like it was really fun to watch. The last photo of the blue angels is my favorite.

  2. Sherrie says:

    Wow, Joanne! I had no idea you had a blog…I guess I never bothered to look at your flickr profile. Anyway…..these shots of the Blue Angels are incredible. You did an amazing job. I’m going to send this link to my husband…he has a couple of planes and LOVES all things airplane!!! ~Sherrie

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