Fleet Week

After a pandemic-induced hiatus last year, Fleet Week was back in San Francisco. The last time I attended Fleet Week was all the way back in 2010, so I was really looking forward to seeing the Blue Angels again.

In past years, I’d always watched the Blue Angels from Pier 39. This year, I was hoping to see them against the Golden Gate Bridge, so we camped at Crissy Field. The location certainly didn’t disappoint.

Expecting plenty of traffic and crowds, we arrived at the Presidio’s Main Parade Lawn at around 1pm. Even though we would eventually make our way to Crissy Field, we decided to stop here for parking and lunch. The lots were quickly filling up, but we found a spot on Funston Avenue just a couple of blocks away.

The lawn was completely packed, with children playing and people basking in the sun. A few food trucks were here today, and we got burgers from Bacon Bacon. Though the wait was long, we could watch planes from the air show fly by. The C-17 circled many times over us, as did the United 777.

It would be just a ten-minute walk to Crissy Field. By now, the beach was quite packed, but we found a high spot on a dune north of the marsh. We had planned to be here for hours waiting for the Blue Angels, but between traffic and lunch, it was already well past 2:30pm before we got settled. We barely had time to enjoy a glass of wine before hearing the roaring thunder of the Blue Angels.

Seeing them against a view of the Golden Gate Bridge was definitely a treat, even though they were generally a bit further away than at Pier 39. Even at 400mm, the closest close-up shots I got here are smaller than those I took at 300mm (including a 1.5× crop) 11 years ago. But 400mm was definitely close enough, and the 100-400mm I brought has an almost perfect range.

Chasing the Blue Angels around on the camera was definitely a great way to spend Fleet Week Sunday. Everything worked out splendidly, and I sure hope our next one will be in less than 11 years.