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My Favorite F-117 Pictures Evah! (Retroactive Picture of the day for 10 May 2009)

I stumbled across the first picture in this post again while I was working on the all black and white picture post. It’s one of my favorite ever pictures of the F-117. I figured I’d share the rest of the pictures from that series here :)

These pictures were taken at MCAS Miramar during the night time airshow. I think it was back around 2001. I used my Canon AE-1 Program SLR with my Kiron 28-210mm F3.8-5.6 zoom lens and Fujichrome Provia P1600 color slide film. I exposed the film at ASA 3200 and had the lab overdevelop it to compensate which is known as “pushing” the film. Yes, it comes out grainy, but sometimes that’s what you’re looking for :wink:

The color in these pictures is caused by the sodium lights in the hangar. I really like shooting with existing light if I can and I don’t mind if it looks strange. It’s actually how it would look to you and me if we we weren’t so accustomed to mentally compensating for the color of the light we live in as it changes. Try sitting in a room with a “daylight” fluorescent tube on for a while and then turn on an incandescent light bulb – everything looks red :)

I really like these images because they look like they could have been taken at a secret facility in the middle of the desert :D The lighting, the lack of a flash, the armed guard – it all adds to the look 8)

F-117A Nighthawk in a hangar at Miramar with an armed guard

F-117A Nighthawk in a hangar at Miramar with an armed guard

Like the F-22 Raptors at today’s airshows, the F-117s were always guarded by men and women with M-16 rifles and 9mm pistols. Signs on the surrounding ropes warned that the use of deadly force was authorized and you could tell just by looking that the guards meant it.

F-117A Nighthawk in a hangar at Miramar

F-117A Nighthawk in a hangar at Miramar

This photo shows the pattern of shadows on the hangar floor caused by the array of lights overhead. I love the geometry in this one.

F-117A Nighthawk in a hangar at Miramar

F-117A Nighthawk in a hangar at Miramar

An intimidating aircraft no matter what the angle, the Nighthawk looks especially menacing from directly in front of the nose and a bit below. This is the look of invisible doom brought without warning in the dead of night :twisted:

F-117A Nighthawk in a hangar at Miramar

F-117A Nighthawk in a hangar at Miramar

Looking at the F-117, the casual observer can easily be excused for thinking it was somehow related to Darth Vader :P Along with the radar absorbing material that covered the aircraft, the faceted shape contributed to the Nighthawk’s low radar signature. Incoming radar signals were deflected in any direction other than back to the radar station so they would never be received or seen.

Yes, the F-117A Nighthawk is one of my favorite aircraft of all time. Revolutionary in its technology, secret for nearly 10 years after its creation in the middle of Downtown Burbank and its testing and entry into service in the deserts of Nevada, the F-117 changed the way combat aircraft will be designed and the way they will be defended against. I was sad when these fine aircraft were retired last year, but I can’t do anything about that. They served the United States well for over twenty years.

Here’s a salute to all the men and women of the Lockheed Skunk Works and of the United States Air Force who made this aircraft a reality 8)

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