VE Day 70th Anniversary – Warbirds’ DC Flyover

Friday May 8th was the 70th anniversary of VE Day.  To commemorate the event, a massive flyover of 56 World War II era planes was staged at a small airport in Manassas, VA and flew to Washington, DC, along the Potomac River, pivoting at the Iwo Jima Marine Memorial, and flying over the Washington Monument, and National Mall.

For a great aggregation of the media coverage click here.

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It was rare that they flew low enough to capture both planes and monuments but it happened a few times.

It sounded fun and I thought I would pop down to the Marine Memorial (Iwo Jima) and see it.  Not an original idea!  I knew I was in trouble when I saw throngs of people pouring from the offices in Rosslyn to the site!

IMG_0242But I tend to have great luck and sure enough there was a sweet parking spot waiting for my car!  I headed over to the Netherlands Carillon which is next to the Marine Memorial and there were a hundred or more photographers!

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The Netherlands Carillon in the back left sits up on a hill, between the Marine Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.

All around me were huge long lenses and tripods, they had vests with extra accessories and multiple cameras.

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As it turned out, many were professionals!  The guy next to me was from Reuters, and the Washington Post was next to him!  There were also plenty of serious amateurs and bloggers.

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The planes came in various formations based on different theaters and time periods during the war.

The planes would come in along the river and be at 1,000 feet which is twice the height of the Washington Monument.  For the pros it was almost a total bust because the planes were too hight to capture the monuments behind them.  There was also a sunny haze that made for difficult photo settings.

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It was a hot sunny day with a humid haze throughout but that did not stop picnics, office gatherings, and many loyal fans of the warbirds.


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Our first glimpse would be to our left between the trees before they were in front of the monuments on the National Mall.

There were brief gaps between groups and then someone in the crowd would yell, “Here we go!”  We would grab a few shots through the trees to the left, then the plane buffs would identify the crafts and many times the actual given name of that plane, “There’s Big Jane!” and shutters would start snapping.

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If they weren’t talking shop about lenses and settings, they were talking about World War II planes.  People were intimately familiar with the crafts and could identify them by the tail markings, etc.

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This, the Lockheed P38 with its distinctive twin booms was a crowd favorite.


They came in several formations based on the history of the aircraft.  Some in threes, some in fours.
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In the end, there were some decent shots of planes with the monuments.  Too bad these professional photographers can’t just turn their phone to the upright position!


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I felt a little silly standing among all these photographers with my iPhone 5, but they were all really nice and gave tips here and there on getting the best possible shot.  There was one woman named Sabrina who described herself as an “overzealous amateur”.  She had a massive lens that she had bought just for air shows and told me that photographing planes made “her brain sparkle”.  She was very nice and gave me her card with a variety of websites.  Here flickr site is beautiful!  .  Her blog has some fabulous photography, including some great shots from a group that did aerial photography of the flyover. See her site at www.sybspics.com.


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I felt a little silly standing among all these photographers with my iPhone 5, but they were all really nice and gave tips here and there on getting the best possible shot.  There was one woman named Sabrina who described herself as an “overzealous amateur”.  She had a massive lens that she had bought just for air shows and told me that photographing planes made “her brain sparkle”.  She was very nice and gave me her card with a variety of websites.  Here flickr site is beautiful!  .  Her blog has some fabulous photography, including some great shots from a group that did aerial photography of the flyover. See her site at www.sybspics.com.

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My friend Jim is a gifted photographer and during the entire flyover we were texting.  He was positioned at the Jefferson Memorial.  To check out Jim’s website Boomer-23.  Jim managed to capture a great shot of a plane that had an engine malfunction and had to break out of formation and land (safely) at National Airport.

All said, it was a fun experience.  The planes were exciting to see (and on display at the Air & Space Museum Dulles Facility the next day) and the experience of being among real photographers was very cool!

π

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