Onboard USS Nimitz - 2nd and FINAL UPDATE

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Photos of operational aircraft from bases, airports and "spotter" outings
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Onboard USS Nimitz - 2nd and FINAL UPDATE

Tue 17 Dec 2013, 10:58 pm

Last week I was extremely lucky to be able to fulfill a life long ambition of mine... To spend a day (6 days!) on an operational US Aircraft Carrier.

I joined the carrier in Hawaii and sailed with them on to San Diego.

As part of the trip I witnessed an Air Power Demonstration including a Supersonic flypast at 130ft by a USMC F-18 and a Prowler tanking from an F-18 at low level. As well as the dropping of live weapons. It was an awesome experience

During the trip, the entire air wing flew off the ship and returned to they home bases. The following photos record that event. I'm sorry that a lot of them are similar but it was hard to move around the boat during the launches so decided to stay put!

First to go... The C2 'Cods' and E2 Hawkeyes. It was close to darkness when the C2's went so he photos are very poor hence not included here!
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Next up - VMFA 323. The entire squadron departed apart from the Boss... His aircraft was the last of the day.

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Next up - VFA-154 The black Knights

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Release the Wolves - VAQ-142
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The rescue helicopter in for a crew change...

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Next to go... VFA-146 The Blue Diamonds
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The last Hornet squadron to leave were The Argonauts
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The last jet to leave the boat was the Boss of VMFA 323
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Last edited by XP282 on Fri 20 Dec 2013, 9:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz

Wed 18 Dec 2013, 12:16 am

Beautiful photos, I'd really love to spend some time on an aircraft carrier, but unlikely to happen. I reckon 5 and 6 are my favorites, the reheat and catapult steam against the dark sea works nicely. :clap:

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz

Wed 18 Dec 2013, 12:55 am

Excellent set of photos! Was this VAQ-142's last EA-6B deployment before Growlers?

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz

Wed 18 Dec 2013, 8:53 am

Some lovely shots there.... What an opportunity to get to spend time on board.

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz

Wed 18 Dec 2013, 8:54 am

A nice set, if I'm being critical the flying shots look a little washed out. With 6 Days on board surely you didn't stay on Vultures Row all the time? Would love to see some other angles from the flight-deck... :smile:

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz

Wed 18 Dec 2013, 2:46 pm

Great pictures and a great opportunity for you. Well done. Lucky man. Thanks for sharing.

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz

Wed 18 Dec 2013, 2:56 pm

bigcrow wrote:A nice set, if I'm being critical the flying shots look a little washed out. With 6 Days on board surely you didn't stay on Vultures Row all the time? Would love to see some other angles from the flight-deck... :smile:


I agree, a good set but if you stayed on Vultures Row for each of the 6 days, what an opportunity wasted! I was on the USS Kitty Hawk back in 2007 and the deck experiences and amazing photo opportunities still stick with me now. Don't get me wrong, Vultures Row was great, but for me it wasn't the highlight of the trip.
Last edited by Sussexlad on Wed 18 Dec 2013, 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz

Wed 18 Dec 2013, 3:28 pm

I would say the best set for 2013!! a great lifetime opportunity. . . and certainly not wasted.

number 9,11 & 17 are the stand out for me! but the rest are fabulous.

yeh there are a few tweakes that could be made too a photo or two but there again some peeps cant look beyond their own 'up their own butts cavity's. Levels this, levels that, sharpening. .A.net horizon levels!!!

what would they say of Robert Capa?. . . . . too grainy out of focus, levels / saturation low. Anyway we are digressing.


a superb set showing life onboard a supercarrier, noneless than 'THE' Nimitz!

A lifetime dream for the many and a unbelievable memory for the few . . . . . . and a ignorant quandry for the keyboard warriors

well done indeed and thank you for the time too share :clap: :clap: :clap:

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz

Wed 18 Dec 2013, 5:45 pm

Great set - how did you manage to get 6 days on board?

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz - UPDATED

Wed 18 Dec 2013, 10:14 pm

Thank you all for your comments. I certainly welcome the feedback. I'm no expert with a camera and really found myself struggling with manual settings in the ever changing conditions so I ended up putting the camera in 'simple' mode. It has compromised the quality of some of the images, but means that I at least have some nice ones to record the experience rather than all scrap! I certainly know that there is room for improvement.

I was part of an event called Tiger Cruse. This is where people onboard the boat are allowed to invite close family or friends along to experience life onboard the ship. I have a friend who is a pilot with VAW117 Wallbangers, and he invited me along for the trip. It certainly was the trip of a lifetime and I fully appreciate just how lucky I am.

As a result of there being quite a few guests onboard, access to the flight deck during flying ops was tightly regulated, hence all photos on the air wing fly off are from vultures row. I was the first up there that morning and wasn't going to give up my space, however it was hard to photograph with a group of us in a small place, and everyone hustling for position!

Anyway, a few more photos for those of you who are interested! I also took quite a lot of video so some of the best moments are on video rather than photos - Sadly I took video of the EA-6 / F-18 refuelling demo. I wish I'm photographed it now!

Anyway, the fist thing we did after setting sail was meet up with with the John Ericsson to take on fuel!

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We were all on deck for an air power demonstration which included a flypast by a EA-6 Prowler (Sorry about the colours. The original was really washed out on this one. I've done my best to recover it!)

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Here's a flypast of all the fixed wing aircraft that took part in the air power demonstration.

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Baby Hornet launch...

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Super Hornet recovery

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The USS Nimitz was at sea for 8.5months carrying out operations in Afghanistan, then moving through the Red Sea into the Med as part of the Syrian 'issue'... The last trap of the deployment was carried out by an E2 Hawkeye from VAW117 en route from Hawaii to San Diego.

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Re: Onboard USS Nimitz - UPDATED

Wed 18 Dec 2013, 10:59 pm

A truly stunning views set of images, thoroughly enjoyed looking through these

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz - UPDATED

Thu 19 Dec 2013, 5:22 am

The photos look good, manual is not always "best" despite what some swear to. In some situations yes, but seeing the kind of conditions you had (often sun behind you) I would've just left it in aperture mode at f8.0 and bump the ISO a bit. IMO the results would've been great. Everyone has their techniques though!

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz - UPDATED

Thu 19 Dec 2013, 9:47 am

and the post just gets better. . . wow!!! :clap: :clap:

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz - UPDATED

Thu 19 Dec 2013, 9:55 am

Foooook me, shot 35 is the most WOW shot i've seen for a long time! Well played

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz - UPDATED

Thu 19 Dec 2013, 11:57 am

Some cracking pictures there love the Growler shot in particular :cool:

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz - UPDATED

Thu 19 Dec 2013, 12:23 pm

I have to say the additions greatly enhance the set and capture the on-deck atmosphere, well done. Agree, pic 35 is brilliant and has impact especially for a type that you don't normally associate with pulling vapour - again, well done! :clap:

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz - UPDATED

Thu 19 Dec 2013, 8:19 pm

Great set, dont know why I missed this. It must have been a fantastic experience :)

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz - UPDATED

Thu 19 Dec 2013, 9:09 pm

The additions really enhance the overall set, it is a very special experience getting on board a US carrier, I got on the IKE last year & it will live with me forever..

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz - UPDATED

Fri 20 Dec 2013, 9:33 pm

Thank you all very much for taking the time to comment.

It really was the trip of a lifetime and something that will stay with me forever. The one thing it proves to me is that nothing is impossible!

bigcrow, your photos from the IKE are superb, I remember looking through them before going on the Cruise. If fact I sent you a PM back in August for some tips but sadly, I didn't get a reply!! (Please dont read anything bad into that comment - It isn't meant in that way!) I genuinely wanted to talk about how you got your pics! They're great!

I also love Pic 35 - I think its my favourite for the 1000+ that I took!

Here are the last set of pics in the thread. Less aircraft and more about the people - The end of the Cruise!

I hope you all enjoy...

Heavily edited Helo to try and make some use of a scrap photo!

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Prepping the EA-6B

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One of the 'paddles' on the LSO platform

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F-18 and the shooter!

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There were some VERY happy people on the flight deck after the last launch!

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Aircraft Gone - Remove the wires...

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Degrease the deck...

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Scrub...

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And rinse...

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Some of the security when pulling in to San Diego - The F-18 behind is one of 2 that had to be removed by crane. One was long term sick... The other was out of hours!

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Welcome home flypast!

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Some of the welcome party. First off the boat was all the new dads... All 150 of them!!!!

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The man who made it all happen! THANK YOU.

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I hope you all enjoy looking through the photos.

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz - 2nd and FINAL UPDATE

Fri 20 Dec 2013, 10:50 pm

Awesome people shots.. Sorry I missed you message, I get a lot of e-mails so may have missed it...

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz - 2nd and FINAL UPDATE

Sat 21 Dec 2013, 8:20 am

Seriously fantastic shots mark, I'm sill ridiculously jealous!
hard to pick a favourite, but I'll go for no.35, which is just awesome :yahoo:
Did you get to try out your new camcorder?
Glad you're back safe and sound, hope to see you soon
Jon

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz - 2nd and FINAL UPDATE

Sat 21 Dec 2013, 11:00 am

That pic of the Prowler,(35), is cracking. (How do those tiny little propellers, generate so much speed. :grin: ).

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz

Sat 21 Dec 2013, 11:26 am

Vodka wrote:I would say the best set for 2013!! a great lifetime opportunity. . . and certainly not wasted.


Could not agree more, best set of the year. Very well done! :clap:

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz - 2nd and FINAL UPDATE

Sat 21 Dec 2013, 3:22 pm

Thanks for sharing your awesome experience no.35 is clearly my favourite, seen nothing like it of a Prowler.
Cheers
Phil

Re: Onboard USS Nimitz - 2nd and FINAL UPDATE

Tue 24 Dec 2013, 11:22 am

Thank you all so much for the kind words! I rarely post my pics on here as I leave it to you guys who are far better than I am when it comes to photography! However I thought as these were a little different you would appreciate them.

To hear people say that they're the best set of the year is a genuine surprise. Thank you.

I may do one more update if I can get anything out of the photos just to show you the hangar deck and mobile cinema that was set up I between an EA-6B and a load of F-18's!

Jon - yes... I did use the camcorder! To be honest, I found that even harder than the photography! But I'll share the final edits when you all when it's done!

Merry Christmas all. And thank you!
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