On the map it is Rainbow Canyon, west of Death Valley in California’s starkly beautiful desert. To fighter pilots and aviation photographers, it is called Star Wars Canyon, or the Jedi Transition. This is where military pilots in the western United States hone their low-level evasion tactics.
Frederick A. Johnsen visited the canyon in May 2018 on a fortuitously busy day — another photographer tallied at least 36 passes by military jets that day.
In addition to aviation photographers, the canyon is visited by tourists who come to Death Valley. Many are foreigners who are completely surprised by the flying spectacle.
The aircrews know the photographers are watching, and back-seaters have been known to wave and even hold signs to be captured in photographs.