The Super Bowl was taking place in Santa Clara and I guess Goodyear had some sort of sponsorship activities underway. Consequently, one of their blimps came to the Bay Area. It was based out at Livermore. I didn’t get a chance to see it on the ground although Nancy drove past it a few times. However, it did fly over us on a few occasions so I stepped outside to get some pictures. These were taken with Nancy’s new camera. It is a Nikon P900 and it seems to do a pretty impressive job. It has a very long zoom range and good stabilization. So far I am impressed.
We have had the MetLife blimp flying around our area a lot recently. I don’t know what brought it to us. It may have been tied to some sports events or perhaps it is just a campaign for brand awareness. The blimp has been based out of Livermore Airport near us. Nancy had seen it at night over there lit up when she drove past.
Then we had it flying one evening. I had seen it previously just before sunset but I wasn’t ready to get a shot and by the time I was, it had gone. Shame because the light was great. Then it showed up at night. It was pretty dark so I had to really take the ISO up. My camera has pretty good high ISO capability but nothing like the current generation of bodies. However, it did a reasonable job.
Next time I came across the blimp I was up at Sonoma. I heard an odd noise and thought it might be a helicopter. However, Skypark does not allow rotorcraft. Instead it was the blimp shooting a low approach. They weren’t on the banned list so I guess it was okay! The climb out was quite dramatic!
Hardly an earth-shattering post this time. Often, photographing aviation themes can be a case of frustration as you try and aim to be somewhere when something is happening. This situation is a little different. I was happily sitting in my living room when I looked out of the window and saw a blimp briefly pass between two buildings in the distance. Blimps do occasionally show up in the city, usually providing aerial coverage of some sporting event or other.
I decided to grab the camera and see if it came any closer. I got my gear and waited for the blimp to come up the shoreline towards us. Sure enough, it appeared between some more buildings heading in just the right direction. Then, it turned around and headed back the way it had just come. Crap! Where was it going next? I started watching the gap I had first seen it in. Nothing for a while. I got distracted by a shot of an Aston Martin parked in the front of the Trump and looked up to see it just passing out of sight in the gap I was supposed to be watching.
Now, can I be patient and wait for it to come back again? Sure I can. I waited – and waited – and waited. Nothing. I was beginning to think it had gone when I spotted its reflection in the IBM building. It was right behind us! This guy is sneaky!
Now I had to wait again. Would he continue on that course and come out the other side of us or reverse again? This time he continued in a predictable fashion and popped out amongst the buildings north and east of us. I grabbed a few shots as he headed south again and then returned to what I was doing. Hardly great shots and probably not worth the effort (unless DirecTV decide to give me something for publicizing their own publicity machine) but I guess I am a bit of a victim of anything flying. Also, I was surprised to see just how quick that blimp could be when he wanted to get moving!