Tokyobling's Blog

Blue Impulse

Posted in Places by tokyobling on November 6, 2009

Earlier this week I visited the air force base closest to Tokyo, in Iruma city up in Saitama prefecture. Once a year the base throws on a big air show and this years sunny but cold weather drew about 220 000 people. It’s free and just 30 mins by train from Tokyo so I was very surprised to not see more than a handful of obviously foreign people there. The main event of the air show is obviously the Japanese Air Acrobatic team, the Blue Impulse and their Kawasaki T-4 Trainers. They performed a stunning air show complete with sky writing of fearsome precision. I did my best to keep up with them but shooting planes moving at over 800km/h with a slow Sigma 50-500mm lens into the sun is not the easiest of photographic tasks. I was blinded so bad by the glare my eyes are still smarting. Still, to get even this sort of focus surprised me. I hope you enjoy them! Obviously my favorite is the first of the images, isn’t that an amazing formation? Half way through a huge loop coming straight at us. If you look hard enough in some of the other photos you can even see the two pilots (and the guys flying solo, plane numbers 2 and 4).

I will post more pictures from the Air Show later next week, I have a busy weekend in front of me, so please enjoy these Friday Fun photos! I’ll make sure that I can visit the Air Show next year again. The best fun for free you can have in early November!


6 Responses

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  1. SimplyMe said, on November 6, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I like your work(photos):)
    Are you a professional photographer or is it just a hobby??
    May I ask since when are you in Japan?Where are you from originally?


    • tokyobling said, on November 9, 2009 at 12:24 am

      Thanks for the kind comment! I am in Tokyo since a few years back. I do creative stuff for a living. This blog is mostly just about my daily life (no work stuff in here!).


  2. Lisa E. said, on November 6, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Cool photos! I used to work near the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland (I live in Baltimore, about an hour away from there). Every year at graduation they have an air show, but I never got photos like this!


    • tokyobling said, on November 9, 2009 at 12:26 am

      Lisa, I envy you! Annapolis is famous among air acrobatic fans. These kind of pictures are remarkably easy to get with a long lens. You just need to be prepared and have all your settings figured out (including focus) so that you just need to be ready with the trigger finger. Loops are easiest to get (as they tend to slow down around the top of it. Skywriting is cool to, and I’ll post some more examples of this later.


  3. Gregoire Bolduc said, on November 7, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Great airshow pics! For being blinded by the sun… you still got fantastic shots!!


    • tokyobling said, on November 9, 2009 at 12:28 am

      Thanks! The sky was a brilliant blue and I got a huge sunburn that is only now starting to heal. I keep forgetting about the sunscreen!


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