BZ's 2007 San Francisco Fleetweek

Photo Gallery

These are some pictures I took at the 2007 San Francisco Fleetweek airshow.
All shots taken w/ a Nikon D50 w/ Nikkor 70-300mm 1:4-5.6G lens; center spot metering and focus, jets shot w/ shutter priority at 1/2000sec.
I went back and cleaned up all the images in photoshop. Level adjusted them, cropped and rotated some (leveled out the sneak pass). Post processing does help fix exposure and framing issues!

Added some additional context shots (12/10/07), hope you like 'em!

Prior to the airshow, there were the ships...

I mean afterall, it's called Fleetweek for a reason! Here's a Canadian vessel - the HMCS Algonquin. It's an Iroquois class destroyer based in Esquimalt, British Columbia. (Thanks to Roger Harris for the info)

Shot of the paid airshow area. They couldn't go to their normal excellent spot due to structural concerns this year. Sigh, too bad.
That domed thing in the back is the Palace of Fine Arts - built for the 1915 International Expo (yes, I looked it up!).

Sean Tucker and the Oracle Challenger II!

He's doing that helicopter impression.

The F-22 did 3 passes. It's always great to see the Raptor! Kind of far away though.

The Coast Guard did a rescue demo with their helicopter.

One good TERN deserves another... (Hey, hey! It was suggested to me in an email!)

The USCG was everywhere!

US Marines does a demo too!

They're the HMLA-367 “Scarface” from Camp Pendleton (Info thanks to Shannon Koski)

Kind of a pretty shot with Alcatraz in the back.

If they holler for you to move...better do as they say! :-)

The F-16 demo. Some nice afterburner moves. Again, need binocs!

The original flyer with a L-39 in the background.

Patriots/Fry's L-39

Your best buys, are FRY'S (but only for the advertised items!).

Sean Tucker again! Truly a legend in the world of aerobatic flying!

Fat Albert! This is the name the Blue Angels gave this particular C-130 Hercules...I didn't make it up!

I like it when the shot has a location context. One of the most famous bridge in the background... (yeah I know, prop blur).

The BLUES are in town!

Check out the moon in the background. I love this shot! (just got lucky with it).

The high speed sneak pass...

The main reason I brave the traffic for SF fleetweek.

He's not quite supersonic...but doing around 700mph!! (I looked it up)

He's what? Less than 20ft off the water!

I can hardly believe I'm getting this, and my camera didn't flake in the middle...
(update) Got confirmation from the Tern crew; yep they surprised!!

THIS is why I upgraded to a DSLR! I'm soooo happy!!

Those guys in the boat better be wearing ear protection! Oh my goodness!

A closeup of the above pic, notice the visual distortion caused by the shockwaves... cool huh?
The jet is not yet supersonic, but is in the transonic region. The air around the plane is accelerated to supersonic speed when it encounters an obstruction (like a bump on the fuselage). Shocks within the supersonic flow (often causing it to decelerate to subsonic conditions) produce large gradients in air density and index of refraction, bending the light differentially on either side of the shock. Those pressure waves can be seen radiating from specific points on the aircraft (including the canopy). The above was compiled from various people who emailed me!

Would have been a stunning shot were the boat not 'in the way'... still, it's interesting in a 'wish that dumb boat wasn't there' kind of way! :-)
(update) On the other hand, a lot of people actually like this shot. I'm glad I included it!


Yes, I think I'll be back next year! I was tempted to go back on sunday, but I had enough of the traffic. In hindsight, should have gone anyway!

The boat guys were closest to the action, but were constantly being herded about by the the coast guard and SF police (I got a note that implied harbor patrol is not the right term!).
(update) I have to stop saying I don't know anyone with a boat!... I've had a few offers from very kind hearted boat owners to be their guest next year! Oh, I can't wait! :-)

It's actually pretty hard to time them crossing...

Got lucky finally!

The very SLOW pass...

The ROCK in the background.


Some close passes!

Another signature San Francisco shot.

Yep, all 6 accounted for...

Bye! Thanks for the great show!

Well, the airshow might be over...but...

Good thing I'm not in that boat. I'd probably toss my cookies!

It's not JUST the Coast Guard and Police out there, the Fire Dept helped out too!

Hey, where did everybody go? In case you're wondering, I was marking time - waiting for the parking lot log-jam to clear. I think an hour and a half later, we made our escape (that's just from the parking lot)! Oh, the joy!

Some additional items of interest:

  • Jim Brown sent me a great analysis showing the #5 sneak pass to be only 23 ft. off the water: Click for analysis

  • For the record, the Number 5 did NOT go under the bridge for the sneak pass. He popped over it on the SF side of the span, and dropped down like a rock! It was an awesome move, and probably much harder to do than fly under the bridge.

  • If you wonder what that sneak pass was like in real time, check the following excellent video (not mine) from the same weekend at: 3 Sneak Passes.

  • asked if I could do a short writeup on Fleetweek. If you're interested in what I came up with, click here.

  • Nate Weinsaft has a great video of Sean Tucker in the Oracle Challenger II which he put to music. It's really very nicely done! Sean Tucker Video

  • If you would like to see some additional SF Fleeweek shots, I've posted a few more pictures (with a boating emphasis) at: BZ Fleetweek supplemental

  • The 2008 Fleetweek shots are up! They are at: 2008 San Francisco Fleet Week Air Show Gallery