You hear them before you see them — the roar of their engines as they zoom in from the west. But more impressive even than the sound is the surreal sight of them overhead, creatures of air approaching land. If you spot them when they're still miles away, you see them dwarfing the Washington Monument, which has been lessened by distance to an insignificant obelisk.
But quicker than seems possible, they are above you, and (if you are an inexperienced amateur photographer with a slow-shooting camera) you're trying hard to take the picture at just the right moment — when the plane is immediately overhead, blotting out the sky; when you, this puny earthbound human, are spellbound, filled with joy at the improbable sight.
Sometimes you catch it. And sometimes you don't.