The Blue Angels Practicing

Many of you know that I normally travel for a living.  A little over a month ago I was assigned to a local project here in Seattle.  Although I get to spend the night in my own bed at the end of each day and don’t have to worry about airports, there is now a daily commute.  Between the water taxi and the bus, I spend about three hours total commuting every day.  It’s a trade-off.

There is one perk I hadn’t previously considered.  My current job is in the South Lake Union area, which is right next to Lake Washington.  Lake Washington is where Seafair happens each year in Seattle, and there is an airshow that involves the Blue Angels.

I lugged my camera gear from Vashon Island to South Lake Union.  It was hot, and I got sweaty in weird places because of the straps, but I think it was worth the effort.  A couple of us spent our lunch hour on the roof of one of the company buildings.

This was a practice run, so it wasn’t the actual show.  Still, when these F/A-18 Hornets fly around it doesn’t matter if it’s practice or not; it’s really loud and really cool.  And, of course, Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone has been stuck in my head ever since.

Keep in mind that we were on top of a building near Lake Union, and the the jets were mainly flying over neighboring Lake Washington.  We spent a lot of time looking up into a very bright empty sky, wondering when the planes would loop around our area again.  We also spent some time thinking about when we should go back to working.

There were only five planes this year instead of the usual six.  This was because there was a fatal crash recently that is still under investigation.  I think it would be very challenging to go back to doing this intense, dangerous work knowing that one of your comrades recently lost their lives doing it.  Of course, you’d never know that from how awesome the show is.

There was one bit of disappointment for me though.  Towards the end, between runs, I figured it was time to go back to work.  I didn’t know if there would be any more runs out to our area, and we’d been standing up there for some time.  So I headed inside to make my way back to my own building.  As I was waiting for the elevator to come, I heard the roar of the planes going by right next to where we’d been standing.  I rushed back outside, but by the time I got there, all that was left were the smoke trails of a very close fly-by.  These smoke trails went right behind the Space Needle.  I stood there for a moment looking at the scene with a heavy heart.  I couldn’t believe it.  I’d missed the opportunity to capture an iconic shot of the Blue Angles flying around Seattle’s main landmark.  For a time, I felt like I needed to move onto the rooftop and actually live up there until the opportunity came again.  I’m still pretty bummed that I missed it.

Since I had my camera gear with me, I decided to take some shots of the city on my commute home.  Here’s what I see every evening as I leave Pier 50 on the King County Water Taxi.  At least, this is what it looks like in the summer.

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