6.261: Canadian International Air Show

On labour day this year I was invited out on MrCool’s family’s boat to go out on Lake Ontario for the Canadian International Air Show that takes place over Toronto, Ontario. It’d been years since I’d been to the show, and I’d never watched it from the lake before. More over, I’ve never shot with a telephoto lens while on a boat either, it turned out to be quite a challenge.

Between the boat rocking in the waves, the subject matter itself moving at quite an unpredictable and rapid pace, and my own shakiness at 200mm focal length, the stabilization in my lens definitely had it’s work cut out. Despite already complaining about shakiness at 200mm, a longer lens would definitely have been nice. There’s a large area of the bay where we’re not allowed to anchor the boat for safety reasons, and probably also to keep us from having the absolute best seats in the house vs those who paid for seats. As such we’re not the target audience for all the action and much of it happens close to the paid seating. A longer lens would have allowed me to capture more action.

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Another issue I encountered was my own stupidity. I’d forgotten that I’d turned the exposure bias down to -2/3 EV which caused all my photos to be pretty under exposed. In addition to that, I was met with just how dirty my sensor really is. It’s filthy. Absolutely filthy. Because of the solid blue sky each and every speck of dust on the sensor was visible. And it’s not like there was 5 or 10, no there was 40+ per photo and I didn’t even get them all, just the most obvious ones. It was a nightmare. I knew I had a couple specks, but you don’t really see them much when you’re not shooting solid colour backgrounds. I definitely need to remedy this as soon as possible. This probably never would have been an issue at all if I still did figure reviews, as I would have noticed the specs a lot sooner.

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I’m not sure what the schedule for the airshow was over the weekend, so I’m not sure when the good planes were seen or if they were at all, but I managed to capture a reasonable variety of planes from the show, though most were just too far away. I do wish they’d had some of the more fancy planes though, you know the ones that get everyone excited. But I’m not sure they really do airshows with those anymore, and if they do, possibly not outside of the US. I’d love to have seen a Rockwell B-1 Lancer (B-1 Bomber), or a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, or a Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit (Stealth Bomber), and I’d really love to have seen a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. I’m not sure anyone flies an SR-71 anymore, but that’s always been one of my favourite aircraft. It also would have been nice to see a larger variety of fighter aircraft from the past and present.

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I’ve tried to identify all the planes in the photos I captured but I’m by no means an expert. I did some quick research to ensure I had the right variants for the Royal Canadian Air Force and double checked colour schemes to ensure those that weren’t obviously Canadian were in fact still Canadian. I’m pretty confident, but any corrections are welcome.

*  This one took some serious digging as my photo of a yellow plane with numbers 120 and 43 was barely useful at all.

Also while out on the lake we got to experience a live police chase! Remember I mentioned that zone where you’re not allowed to go? Well, someone blasted in there, I guess not realizing why all these anchored boats weren’t anchored in that zone, or perhaps even questioning why they were going so fast around so many anchored boats… So the police boat went out to stop them. That police boat can really move, I was surprised when it took off. I mean, it’s no dragboat or offshore racing boat, but it’s not slow. It doesn’t look like the people who entered the zone got a ticket, instead they were just told to leave the zone. Also out there, a tall ship! It was really out there though, so the pic is crap.

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I think I’d like to go back next year, perhaps on land or perhaps by boat, but definitely with a longer focal length. Maybe with some planning next year I can capture something a little bit better than I got this year. Or perhaps by then I’ll forget and do something else.

It’s amusing how much the sky changes colour depending on the direction you’re facing. I probably should have remembered my polarizing filter as well…

Note: The keen observer will notice how wonky the header image really looks when compared to the similar photo later in the post. I used content aware scale in Photoshop to make it the 2.116:1 aspect ratio used for posts. It’s not… bad. Maybe.