Four members of the USAF Thunderbirds climb into the sky during the 2009 performance at the USAF Academy graduation; view the details in the largest sizes. This is one of the sharpest shots I got of the Thunderbirds and one of the reasons I chose it for my daily was that there were shadows cast by the plane ahead on each of the planes except for the leader. I thought that was interesting. Some of the other shots i took included ones of the planes flying near Pike's Peak. I took several hundred shots but have posted about 49 in a Thunderbirds Gallery (under Airplanes). If you are interested in seeing the other shots, click here: http://fotoeffects.smugmug.com/gallery/8365387_LvF9u#P-1-12.
Watching this graduation day performance is becoming a regular event for many residents of Colorado Springs. Actually attending the graduation is not the best place to watch the Thunderbirds. The Academy is located on one side of I-25 and a number of businesses are located on the other side. People drive to a spot on the east side of the freeway and park there to watch the performance. We've been doing this ever since we moved to the area...about five years. Since a new Hollywood Theater has gone in just across from the stadium, we've been going there. Last year there were quite a few people at the spot, but this year the entire parking lot, overflow lot and all the little feeder streets were completely filled with watchers. It has become quite a party. Some people set up little awning things under which they have a picnic. Some people grilled food. Most bring chairs and snacks. Some of us go into the theater and buy popcorn and other food. Most folks arrive several hours before the Thunderbirds arrive. The Thunderbirds always arrive several days before the graduation to practice. They practice a couple of times a day and many of us have them flying directly over our homes during the routine, so, even if we had not been keeping up with the date of the graduation, by the time the day arrives, virtually everyone is aware of it because of having seen the team practicing. It is a lot of fun. There were lots of folks taking photos, although at the Hollywood Theater location, I certainly had the biggest lens, which is a decided advantage.
Hope you like the shot and have a really nice Friday!