USAFA 2013 Graduation

USAFA 2013 Graduation

Featured Image’s Data: Canon EOS 6D, AV Mode, Shutter Speed 1/320, Aperture f/8.0 Focal Length 70mm, ISO 400

May 28, 2013 – Class of 2013 is in the final stretch of graduating from the United States Air Force Academy! Unlike the previous years, I finally caught the parade in full motion this year. I did however miss the fly over by a few minutes. But not to worry, I caught the formation of the B-25J Mitchell bomber, two P-51D Mustang fighters, a FG1D Corsair fighter, a P-40K Warhawk fighter, a FM2 Wildcat fighter and a TBM-3E Avenger bomber on graduation day.

I decided to edit some of the images in B&W as a tip of my hat to the National Museum of World War II Aviation in Colorado Springs (opened in 2012) and the Texas Flying Legends Museum of Houston for flying their World War II-era planes for the cadets. As some of you know, the Thunderbirds have been grounded for the rest of the fiscal year. Personally, I think this fly over was better than the Thunderbirds. Even though the demonstration by the aerial team was short and did not include barrel rolls and daredevil stunts, it was rare site to see and simply amazing. True Story: Instead of driving my husband to and from an eye appointment, I ditched him and stayed for the fly over. To be honest, he would have done the same and I would have insisted just as he did.

If you follow my Facebook page, you may seen the post about stitching images together in Photoshop.

Quick Recap:

  • Automated photomerge YouTube tutorial:
  • Times when the automated system does not work:
  • Overlap generously for future images – 20% at least
  • Be mindful of any moving subjects (rapid fire!)
  • Landscape will take less images, but Portrait will give you more height in the final product

I took a series of 12 images and used the automated photomerge option for the Stillman Field panorama. Those images were shot portrait, so I had plenty of room to work with and went with a 16×9 crop.

The rest of images are pretty basic. I did pick the ones I thought would the story the best. If you pay attention to the cadets, you will notice that the ones with the yellow sashes march out of formation not long after the parade starts. These cadets are the graduating class and they fall into their own formation behind the Superintendent. Basically the Class of 2013 turns over leadership of the Cadet Wing to Class 2014. Together the Superintendent and graduating class review the parade. Each section of the entire formation is a single cadet squadron. USAFA has a total of 40 cadet squadrons and each cadets moves into a new squadron every year. After the squadrons march off the field, they continue to march to the Terrazo Level of the Cadet Area. In the final image you will see the Air Force’s Core Values. This is the first thing every Airman (enlisted or officer) learn about and this is first thing all new Academy recruits see when they step off the bus: Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do.

Congratulations Class of 2013 – it’s been a long four years.