Sun n Fun 2016

Sun n Fun 2016

Sun n Fun 2016

2016 is the year that saw me making my first pilgrimage to the Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In Expo. For the non-aviation enthusiasts, Sun ‘n Fun is an annual event that has been hosted in Lakeland Florida for the past 42 years. The six-day event transforms the Lakeland Linder Regional airport into the world’s busiest airport while it hosts the event with over 14,000 aircraft operations. It’s really hard to explain what that looks and sounds like. You have to be there to understand and even then it’ll still be hard to comprehend.

Sun ‘n Fun is a not-for-profit organization which donates hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in scholarships to assist students pursuing careers in the Aerospace industry. However, the allure to most attendees is the access to a world class airshow with some of the best aerobatic performers in the world.

Based on the daily airshow schedule, I thought 4 days would have been adequate to attend this event. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There was so much to see and do.

This year Sun ‘n Fun honored the military, so on a few show days we were entertained with military aircraft displays.

Warbirds at Sun n Fun 2016

Warbirds at Sun n Fun 2016

Some of the other memorable moments were aerobatic displays by:

  • Aeroshell
  • AeroStars
  • Breitling Jet Team
  • EAA Warbirds of America
  • Gene Soucy
  • The Golden Knights
  • The Red Bull demo team
  • F-22 Raptor

Sun ‘n fun was definitely worth the 1,994 mile journey. Where else could I stand in the cockpit of a fully functional jet to get a better vantage point of a world class air show?

How I captured Air Force One in Jamaica

Air Force One Landing in Jamaica

Air Force One Landing in Jamaica

It’s no secret that I am somewhat of an aviation fanatic. I bought my first DSLR camera so that I could take better pictures of airplanes. My first post on this blog was regarding airplanes. You could say my interest in photography is as a result of my love for aviation. How I ended up shooting weddings is for another post.

I’ll do just about anything to get a good airplane picture. To capture the pic below I went as close as possible to the edge of the runway to capture a Virgin Atlantic aircraft landing in Montego Bay. This shot took me two years and over five visits to the airport to capture. Virgin operates one of the only Boeing 747s flying into Jamaica. It may seem insignificant but it really is a big deal (to me at least).

Virgin Atlantic 747 landing in Jamaica

Virgin Atlantic landing in Jamaica

When I heard the announcement that President Obama was visiting Jamaica, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I had to get a picture of Air force One in Flight. My plan was to capture the presidential aircraft from this location where I got this Fly Jamaica aircraft while it was seconds from landing. It would be an epic picture.

Fly Jamaica Airline Landing in Kingston

Fly Jamaica Airline Landing in Kingston

 

On Wednesday afternoon at approximately 4:30 I left work, wife in tow, and headed to my vantage point along the palisadoes road. I passed several police/military check points where I was informed that I could go to Port Royal but I had to stay there until 10pm when the roads would reopen as they would be closed at 6pm. That wasn’t an issue. Sitting in the car for 3 hours after the president landed, counting the stars, would have been worth it.

Shortly after arriving at “the spot”, a passing cop advised that we could not stop anywhere along the stretch. This ruled out any possibility of getting the dream picture. We decided to leave the area before the lock down.

Our next stop was the  Down Town Kingston waterfront. It has a clear view of the airport runway but it was significantly farther away than our dream location. After a few test shots with two commercial flights landing at the Norman Manley International Airport, it was concluded that my measly 70-200mm lens would not be sufficient enough to get Air force one in all its glory.

Test Shot

Test Shot

Houston! We have a problem!

The only other option I could think of was to drive to Portmore. Generally speaking, Portmore is in line with the approach for the airport’s only runway. However, this was only true if the winds continue to blow from east to west (airplanes typically land into the wind) and the pilots didn’t attempt to do any super-secret manoeuvre that would bypass the predictable flight path.

Our first stop in Portmore was at Jolly’s (back road). I visited the NMIA website to see the remaining scheduled commercial flights for the day. This was important as I needed to know the aircrafts’ approach to the runway relative to my location and I needed test subjects before the arrival of the President. After photographing the last two flights before Obama landed, from Jolly’s, I was not satisfied that I would be able to capture Air force One in a manner that I could be proud of. After waiting on our order of fried fish and bammies from Jolly’s (which was unusually fast), I took the biggest risk yet, that resulted in the President’s 747 flying literally right over my head.

I estimated that the Portmore Mall would be a good vantage point, so we pulled up to the bridge near Edgewater. Minutes after our arrival, I saw some of the brightest lights I’ve ever seen on an aircraft. We were so excited as we ran to the top of the bridge with cameras in hand that we attracted the attention of passing motorists who pulled over although they had no idea what we were doing.

First sighting of Air Force One

First sighting of Air Force One

What started off as spec in the sky (7:25:05 PM) and reflection in the canal (7:27:07 PM) turned out to be one of the most magnificent and technologically advanced aircraft to ever land in Jamaica. It was so close, these images were not even cropped. The aircraft was so close it filled the frame of my view finder (7:28:28 PM).

Fortune favours the brave they say… Today I was very fortunate.

This was the first time I had set my camera to ISO 25,600 and these are possibly the worst quality images I have ever uploaded to the internet. Yet, I am most proud of them.

Air Force One Landing in Jamaica

Air Force One Landing in Jamaica

Air Force One Landing in Jamaica

Air Force One Landing in Jamaica

 


UPDATE!


 

I was also able to capture the President’s Cadillac Limousine (The Beast) in Kingston and also Air Force One shortly after take off at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) as President Obama made his way to the Summit of the Americas in Panama on April 9, 2015.

 

Obamas Cadillac The Beast in Jamaica

President Obama’s Cadillac (The Beast) in Jamaica

 

Air Force One taking off at the Norman Manley Internatiomal Airport Jamaica

Air Force One taking off at the Norman Manley Internatiomal Airport Jamaica

Boscobel Air Show 2012 Pictures & Videos

At the Boscobel 2012 Airshow, there was something for everyone. Parachutists and Aerobatics for the aviation enthusiast, games and rides for the kids, music for the party animals, and adequate security for the security conscious.

However, there was something missing… The large number of patrons that came out to last year’s staging of the event. This could be due to the threats of rain and strong wind by tropical storm Ernesto or the fact that the event was not adequately promoted, which is my bet.

That aside, the Boscobel 2012 air show was not a disappointment for patrons. The beautiful scenery at Rio Nuevo was ideal for the event and the medium sized gathering resulted in a very close knit family like ambiance, especially as we surrounded a projector showing the men 100m finals of the Olympics in the back of a truck.

I hope that the near disappointing turnout will not dissuade the organizers from taking on the venture again. However, use this opportunity to assess what went wrong and make the 2013 staging the best one yet. They could start by allowing the airplanes to perform a lot closer to the audience as they did last year, which was AWESOME 🙂

2012 Air Show Video

JDF Helicopter Taking Off

Patrons reacting to Men’s 100m Olympic finals at the Air Show

RELATED POSTS: Boscobel Airshow 2012 Pictures, JDF & Canadian Air Force Air Show 2012 – Images, JDF & Canadian Air Force Air Show 2012 – Video, JDF & Canadian Air Force Air Show 2012

Beautiful Day at Donald Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay Jamaica (MBJ)

While on vacation in the Beautiful City of Montego Bay Jamaica, I could not resist sneaking away from the hotel to the nearby Donald Sangster International Airport to witness a few beautiful take offs and landings.

From this adventure I compiled these two videos.

 

Beautiful Landings

Jet Washed

Boscobel Air Show 2012

stunt planeIn keeping with the promise they made last year and Jamaica 50 celebrations, the Caribbean Aviation Training Center (CATC) will once again be hosting the Boscobel Airshow (for the second time).

This years show will be held on Aug 4 & 5 at the following locations:

  • The Ian Fleming International Airport (Aug 4) 10:00 am – 5:00 pm


Admission (Adults: $500 & Children:$100)

Program: Aerobatic Performance, Parachute Jumpers, Chicago Honey Bear Dancers

  • Rio Nuevo Village (Aug 5) 10:00 am – 9:00 pm-  A few minutes from Ocho Rios (Directions to come)


Admission (VIP: $5,000/ Adults: $1,000 /Children:$500)

If you are new to air shows, please see my airshow essentials post for a list of items that may make your experience more enjoyable.

If you were not at last year’s show, the video below will give you a hint of what is to come.

RELATED POSTS: Boscobel Airshow 2012 Pictures, JDF & Canadian Air Force Air Show 2012 – Images, JDF & Canadian Air Force Air Show 2012 – Video, JDF & Canadian Air Force Air Show 2012