Historical Moment

The El Toro Marine Base had its last air show before closure. A Marine panoramist was commissioned to shoot the War Birds at night and the Blue Angels at the crack of dawn. When he told me he had borrowed a Hulcher to shoot the event, I told him that I would come along and back him up with my Super 70 Roundshot.

As we drove to the Marine Base, a beautiful sunset occurred exactly at the wrong angle to the War Birds and we needed to install 80,000 watts of sodium vapor lights. It took 4 hours to crank up all the diesel generators but finally we realized that everything would look better if the tarmac was wetted down.

Consequently our friend with all his military clout summoned a 10,000 gallon water spraying vehicle. It looked like something from Star Wars. Within minutes, the foreground and the planes were soaked and beautiful reflections occurred in the foreground.



I loaded up the Roundshot and was able to shoot at f11 at 1 second which roughly took 20 minutes. I was able to back myself up and shot with the 150 and the 250. By now, it was 1:30 in the morning. I went back to the lab and processed all of the film and proofed as much as I could, I slept for a few hours and returned for the sunrise at 5:30 am.


The Blue Angels were in the process of being prepared for take off. We had exactly 15 minutes before take off. They would only give us exactly 5 minutes to shoot all seven planes lined up on the ground.


We got one shot with all pilots in front of their planes and we were able to use a 350mm lens on the Roundshot to create one of the most spectacular pictures ever taken of the Blue Angels (this according to their press personnel who were reviewing our work).

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