Fleet Week is the special time of year when active duty Navy ships come to visit the Port of Los Angeles. Any one can go and see all the cool boats, helicopters, planes, tanks and meet a service member. As well as get an up close view of how your tax dollars are spent. As a fan of big metal machines, I had to be there!
Fleet Week was was canceled for 2020 and 2021, so I was gunning to see it. I decided to bring my Canon AE-1 35mm Film Camera and limit my self to only analog photos. I felt like the vintage military equipment would be best captured on a timeless medium. I don’t think a lot of people realize how old some of these aircrafts are. Even the Osprey is now 33 years old.
For me the star of the show was this lovely Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey! I can sometimes hear them going over my house in Burbank, but I’ve never seen one up close. and it was HUGE!
How the pavement survived an Osprey landing I will never know!
My friend Nick came with me, and he snagged a few shots of me fumbling around with my camera. It takes so much longer to take a photo on film. But I think its worth it. The way a cell phone camera views the world just isn’t exciting to me any more. I don’t care for the colors or the over sharpening AI filtered look of an iPhone photo. but I am really glad he got this shot of me holding an Anti Tank Rocket launcher. It looks just like the one in Half Life!
Any ways! back to film! They had 5 Helicopters here! I believe this very skinny helicopter on the left is a Bell AH-1Z Viper, a Twin Huey and a Blackhawk? Also a nice close up of some gorgeous rotors!
I handed my camera to Nick for this shot and he managed to capture me perfectly! even though I was standing in a shadow! Fujifilm 200 is pretty forgiving!
And then I got a few of nick!
Fleet Week is the kind of place to bring your kids… if they play too much Call of Duty! You can climb on top of tanks or operate some artillery! And if your lucky, A bomb defusal robot will scurry right up to you and say hello!
These little guys were roving around and could sort of wiggle around to wave at you. I guess I never really realized how cute they were till I met one in person.
We got to meet some pretty cool serviceman and go inside an amphibious tank! It felt like being inside a Pelican from Halo! I liked taking picture of the soldiers because they matched the vehicles. Every one else was kind of just in t-shirts and shorts.
Then it was time for me to get into uniform. These two nice Officers suited me up in a bullet proof vest stuff with lead.
Then the Officer asked if I could do 20 Pushups…
And I did! (with not terrible form?) while Nick filmed! They gave me a little infrared flag as a reward for my 90 seconds of service!
Fleet Week is actually supposed to be an event where you tour the ACTIVE visiting Navy ships. but the lines are pretty long. So we didn’t get to see the USS Essex or the Portland. So instead enjoy these lovely shots of a real WW2 Battleship!
The USS Iowa! The Battleship of presidents. FDR has a bathroom on here, I’ve seen it with my own eyes. But unfortunately we couldn’t tour that part of the ship today.
It’s always fun taking pictures on the Iowa! Its so complex and interesting, and there are pipes EVERYWHERE! Also I think the metal bounces the light really well for really nice pictures! Its very hard to take a picture inside of it. But I like the one of Nick at the helm here being surrounded by the dark wood interior.
A cell phone photo of me in the chair. And then I turned around to snap this random kid pretending to steer the boat! and also a Birb!
We walked on the Iowa at the perfect time to watch an LA Fireboat majestically spray its nozzle into the harbor!
And then a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin Flew by and demonstrated a rescue mission!
I’ve heard that there are no ejection seats on a helicopter, so that means the difference between flying and crashing is actually kind of a grey area! But this pilot was extremely skilled and with pin point accuracy, lifted a diver out of the water before taking off into the afternoon sun.
I don’t know why but I found this little trash truck quit adorable. So he got a couple shots as well.
Goodbye LA fleet week. There is nothing quite like the smell jet fuel and old Navy metal. I hope you’ll be here next year!