U. S. Air Force Academy – 2005 and 2010

For various reasons, I did not do any writing yesterday. Let me rephrase that . . . I wrote a lot, but none of it for the NaNoWriMo effort. I wanted to. I yearned to. I said to myself I would. And then I didn’t. Were I a different type of person, I would consider myself a failure, get all depressed, blame the universe, blame myself, and worry about reaching my goal. I’m not that type of person.


Among other things, a comment on my recent post about our August visit to the U. S. Air Force Academy derailed some of my resolve to write. The comment was about the plane you see above. It implied I did not know how to take a proper photo of this plane.

By the way, there are 158 photos, but I won’t show them all here; it’s late, my leg aches, and the photos can all be found in higher resolution HERE, the SmugMug gallery associated with this blog post.

Still, there be lots of photos . . . they will load slow. You really have to want to see them to read this whole post.

The above photo was taken in July of 2005, on a day when a rarity populated the skies over the Air Force Academy and the surrounding areas . . . clouds. Dramatic clouds. I thought they provided a great backdrop for many of the photos. By the way, at the time I was shooting the Nikon D100 . . . I keep meaning to bring that puppy out and take some photos with it for old times sake.


There is about a half mile walk from the visitor center to the Chapel area and the adjacent cadet quarters, classrooms, and parade grounds. The chapel makes for an impressive sight as one walks up.

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Despite not being a big fan of the ideas associated with these kinds of buildings, this one is impressive and merits some consideration for its unique construction.


It also lends itself to quasi-abstract photography, as can be seen in the above photo.

But, before we go in . . .


Understand, this was our first visit here, a scant two months after having moved into our new house. We looked over the elevated plaza overlooking the parade ground, and the sight is impressive.

And then this happened.

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Music started playing, and cadets filed out of the buildings, arranging themselves into phalanxes. We had no idea at the time, but this was a regular biweekly occurrence; cadets would exit their classrooms, and march to the mess hall.

One half of them marched right in front of the chapel’s terrace where, us included, a number of people had gathered to watch. Depending on the classes they were attending at the time, different groups wore different outfits.

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This was not precision marching, like photos from three months later during what I assumed was parents day. Still, they marched in pretty good order.

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Here’s a few closeups of faces I hope went on to serve honorably and with distinction. And I hope they are all still alive. We were not thinking about that as we watched, but some of these young men and women likely ended up serving in war zones.

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We watched for a while longer . . .

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Before going into the main chapel, we went to the Catholic chapel (the main chapel was sort of crowded, and I hoped the people would eventually thin out).

And the way, I took another abstract shot.


. . . and then the chapel proper . . . 

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. . . and then another abstract shot . . . 


Notice a spot on the photo . . . I normally clean those out, but that one slipped by.

Oh well; were I perfect, I would be too good to be true. As it is, I’m nearly there.

And here’s the main chapel . . . you saw the photos from the Samsung. These, I think, are a tad better.

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We exited, and before going to the static model planes display, I indulged in some artistic shots of the exterior architecture.

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Honest, I think a lot of these would look amazing in B&W . . . maybe another day.

Regardless, the clouds and sky aided a lot in showing off man’s geometric efforts. The clouds also helped with the model planes.


Ok, not that one, but these . . . 

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Here’s a perspective shot of the area . . . 


And here are some more planes. By the way, at the time I did a bunch of work removing the poles and making them look like they were flying . . . I’ll have to dig those up as well.

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Before we headed out, a few more dramatic views of the chapel . . . 

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Before leaving, we stopped at the B-52 display . . . 

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I don’t know . . . maybe I can’t take good photos of this plane . . . I would have another chance in March of 2010.

Meanwhile, we had returned for a visit in October of the same year, 2005. As I mentioned, it must have been family day, or parent’s day, or homecoming, or whichever one of them days where true pomp and circumstance ruled. This time the marching was more precise, more disciplined, more formal . . . maybe they just had a lot of practice.


The chapel still looked good . . . 


. . . and so did a murder of crows that were flying around . . . 


I took the opportunity to snap a few more photos of the static models . . . this time without dramatic clouds, but I tried to include other backgrounds.


By now, eyes glazing over, you are asking yourself “Holy Fudge! How many photos is he gonna post?!”

The only way to know is to keep going.


We avoided the Academy for nearly five years . . . well, avoided is a strong word. 

It got to be more of a hassle to get in and out of there, but in March of 2010 we returned, and this time I was shooting my D200 . . . 

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There were no marching cadets, but there were cadets out there. They were either being punished for something, or doing some type of strength and endurance exercise.

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We went to see the Jewish temple . . . 

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They called it the Jewish chapel, but I thought that was not the proper term. Then again, what do I know . . . they called this next one the Buddhist chapel.


OK, I needed me a fix on artistic architectural shots.

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One of my favorite sculptures out there is this one . . . three falcons on a tree. I played with the position of the sun a bit.

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Would you believe I took more photos of the model planes? I’ll only show a few . . . 

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. . . and here’s a bit more of the plaza.


Remember half an hour ago, at the opening of this post, where I said my B-52 picture-taking ability was called into question? 

I’ll let my work speak for me . . . 

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As usual, you can click on any of the photos, and they should open as a larger version in a new tab or window.

Here are the plaques with a write-up on the B-52 and its role in history.

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That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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