The Blue Angels: Universally Awesome

There’s no better place to be on the first weekend in August than Seattle. Not only is the weather a spectacular 80 degrees and breezy, but it’s also Seafair weekend… a city-wide celebration involving hydroplane races, thousands of boats on Lake Washington, and one of the greatest airshows you’ll ever see, courtesy of the Blue Angels.

This year I managed to stay coherent enough out on the Lake to snap some nice shots of the Boys in Blue and even shoot a bit of video. This little Casio EX-Z750 continues to amaze me. The video quality is stellar, especially for something that fits in your shirt pocket. As planes pass over your head at near Mach 1, you tend to shake a little bit, so some anti-shake technology would be nice, but hey, I can’t complain.

Below is a slideshow of 10 photos from the airshow:

And here’s a 4-minute chunk of video from the show. The video in its original form is about twice the pixel size and quite a bit higher quality, but I wanted to get the clip down to about 20 megs so I downsampled and converted to Flash:

43 comments on “The Blue Angels: Universally Awesome”. Leave your own?
  1. Jason says:

    Wow! Awesome shooting! Both the video and the stills are super impressive!!! Great job! Thanks for the entertainment!

  2. ericd says:

    nice stuff – i LOVE airshows. I really enjoyed your video – thanks for that!

  3. Sean Madden says:

    Hey Mike,

    Not sure exactly how into the blues you are, but may I recommend the book “First Blue Angel” to you? It’s the story of the founding member of the blues and it’s a good read, I’ve met the man many times and he is a true hero.

    Oh, and I also built their website First Blue but they have since BUTCHERED IT WITH THEIR MEDDLING.

  4. Justin Voss says:

    I like the The Killers and The Darkness soundtrack you have going on in the background. ;)

  5. Mike Downey says:

    Wow! Very nice. I’m a HUGE fan of the Blues. I can’t wait until this year’s Fleet Week in San Francisco (in October). I intend to break out the new Sony HD camera and tape the whole show. I’ll be sure to post it on my blog.

    The Blues didn’t make it to San Francisco last year as they had to do a special show in Pearl Harbor – but they’re returning this year. I’ve seen them perform all over the country and there’s nothing like seeing them perform over the San Francisco Bay on a nice clear day.

    (crossing fingers hoping for no fog this year…)

    MD | Flash PM

  6. Adam says:

    Man, that looks like the ideal afternoon.

    Just curious, what is the total file size of that video?

  7. miko says:

    Wow, they are low to the ground. One mistake and it’s over.

  8. Dan says:

    Wow… nice music (I too believe in a thing called love ;-)). The last fly over, “Whoa”

  9. Ryan Guill says:

    sombody told me that you had a boyfriend that looked like a girlfriend that I had in february of last year.

  10. Jim Gosz says:

    Great photos and video Mike! At some times it looks like you could spit and hit them as they flew by! Wow. I agree with what you said about the Blue Angels being one of the greatest airshows you will ever see. I had the honor of seeing them fly in Muskegon, Michigan a few weeks ago, as part of my summer airshow tour, and they really make you appreciate raw horsepower and piloting expertise. They also make you think to yourself, “Damn, I’m lucky to be on their side!”

  11. Joel Polsky says:

    Being a former Seattlite – I can truly appreciate the great shots and the awesome summers Seattle offers. I’ve spent many years tring to get such awesome footage on my Kodak Brownie! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  12. ColdForged says:

    I grew up in Pensacola, FL, the home of the Blues. My dad worked at the base and would take me every year to see their practices and, of course, the shows. They’re truly awe inspiring. I used to — okay, still do — daydream about being the number 6 opposing soloist. I’d keep my eyes on him and always crowed in delight whenever I’d watch him approach for the sneaks from behind the crowd.

    Now I haven’t seen them in almost 20 years… and I miss them. They just don’t fly anywhere near me. I envy the public that still gets to see them :). Thanks for the pictures and video!

  13. Mike D. says:

    Adam: I ended up shooting about a half hour of video so the filesize was originally a few hundred megs, but what you’re seeing on the site is 4 minutes at 20 megs.

    Dan and Ryan: Yeah, I wasn’t controlling the music that afternoon. I almost dubbed something over it, but the only thing I could think of was Highway To The Dangerzone and that’s just too cliché. :)

  14. Jehiah says:

    I’m from Annapolis Maryland, and it’s always a joy to what the Blue Angels perform for the Naval Academy Graudation. (and it’s nice to hang out on the water down town the day prior while they practice)


  15. James says:

    I love living in the PNW!

  16. Slideshowpro has to be one of the coolest flash components I’ve ever used. One of the best plugin purchases I’ve made.

    Really nice photos too :)

    Just curious, but what did you use to put the video on the page? Is it a flash component? I’ve seen that treatment before and I’ve always been impressed with how elegant and simple the controls are.

  17. Collin says:

    Awesome video and stills. You have made a believer out of me with that ‘Lil camera. I paid around the same price for my digi, which is total crap by comparison.

    Seattle knows how to throw some killer events. I have seen the Angels perform at air shows in Daytona Beach but it would have been so much more enjoyable to be out on the water with a small group to watch that performance. (Maybe even sneak a few drinks past the po-po’s on the water.) That’s sick how they go over head!

  18. Awesome! I couldn’t get anywhere this weekend with the traffic (the bridges were a parking lot!) and unfortunately I wasn’t able to see the show, thanks for providing this for those of us that missed it! The video was great.

  19. Jeff Long says:

    Number 4 on the slideshow is awesome, I miss Seattle. Seafair is fun times as well. Anyways, I love that cam as well, thanks again for the excellent review.

  20. Doug says:

    Yes indeed that was some great video!!! I am from the San Francisco area and the Angels are so much closer for you guys! Keep up the great work. Thanks Jeff for the link to this site, :-)

  21. Sean Madden says:

    Given the respect payed here to the blues, I thought I should let you all know that their founder, Butch Voris, passed on today. He was a war hero, sat in Houston during apollo, and was the only man to ever lead the blue angels twice.

  22. “Highway To The Dangerzone”. I have a confession, I’ve always thought that lyric was “I went to the danger zone”… Go ahead, laugh it up.

  23. David Howell says:

    Hey who’s the blonde girl with the pigtail? We want more video of her :) Thanks Mike.

  24. Mike B. says:

    Hey CHris me too i always thought those were the lyrics…….but hey now i know the real ones.

    i’ve also been to a airshow to see the Blue Angels and WOW those guys are amazing i couldn’t believe what they are capable of. It was amazing stuff and looks like being in a boat was much better. Thanks for the vid too i always like watching jets fly stunts.

  25. Mark says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed the show. We happened to be in Pensacola the week after hoping to see them practice at their home base. We were disapointed to see that they were still on the road (in the air?) but enjoyed the Naval Aviation museum anyways. See the autostitched panorama I posted in flickr of the display of their old jets in the museum atrium.

  26. Chris Hester says:

    Come on now, there’s no way that video footage came from a Casio pocket camera. You can’t fool us! :-) You did a great job – the image was fairly steady, considering the boat was moving up and down!

    I found it quite scary to watch though – I kept thinking the planes would drop a bomb at any moment.

    Funny how the ‘soundtrack’ was so UK as well. Even the Kaiser Chiefs were in there!

    I predict a riot…

    Now who spotted the triangle in the corner of the Flash viewer? It enlarges the pic!

  27. I grew up around Naval Aviation, have a number of good friends who have been Blue Angels and have watched probably close to 50 Blue Angel Airshows, every one of them is impressive. I always love to see the various ways they touch people’s lives.

    Great photos, and and really cool implimentation of video in your blog, very useful and user friendly.

    I too recently had the pleasure of seeing the Blues, in Grand Junction, CO. And like you couldn’t wait to publish the photos on my blog, “Carmichael’s Position”

  28. don says:

    I’ve never seen an air show. This is awesome! Thanks for the clip!

  29. RENNIE says:


  30. Daniel McMahon says:

    Great video! I watch it at least once a month when in need of a little inspiration.

    I am hoping to become a Navy Flight Surgeon in a few years, and seeing the Blue Angels in action always drives me to get a chance to ride in one of those jets.

    The background “Darkness” of course completes the soundrack.

  31. Ray Stoll says:

    Great Vids. Thanks.

    If you want to learn about the a great man, search
    “Raleigh Rhodes”. He was in a Japanese POW camp for 3 years, then returned to service and established the Blue Angels with Butch Voris. He is a friend of mine, (as is his son). I will share your vids

  32. Chris says:

    Awesome show! We’re going to see the Blue Angels in San Francisco this weekend. We’re really looking forward to it.

  33. Amanda says:

    can someone please email me with footage. I need to get together a presentation, tey will be in Vidalia, GA in April.

  34. Ron Beeler says:

    As a former Blue Angels flight crewman and mechanic, I have written a book…a legacy about the professional and social interaction of the pilots and crew over the years. It is filled with little known facts about the Blues and their legacy. Look for Blue Angels With Dirty Faces.

  35. James Strawn says:

    Excellent. Now I am really jonesing for their next airshow. I saw them practice for Fleet Week in San Fran. That was a treat, but now I would like to see them in Seattle. Nice work!



  36. rico says:

    THAT WAS AWSOME!! I know one of the guys who are in the blue angels..anyways..send some other videos out.



  37. Tim says:

    Man great job on the filming!!! I have seen these guys several times, I fuel their planes lol. well in SC anyhow…..great work…

  38. ray stoll says:

    # 6 Too low on rejoin

    Was not mechanical… wanna bet?

    Peace to Kevin Davis, and his family

  39. Fletcher says:

    Amazing footage need some footage of them droping bombs

  40. Fletcher says:

    Pretty please that was my favorite when I went to them in jacksionville naval air base. Where was this at by the way

  41. Tom says:

    Nice video. Thanks for sharing it.

  42. Brendan Stewart says:

    hey thats a pretty good vid i am friends with the Navy Blue angel #4 plane pilot who’s in the slot

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