10 Days of Pain......

31st October 2009
Firstly, I apologise for the lack of recent work updates. August is a very slow month for wildlife photography, what with all the birds nesting and most animals into their breeding season so I turned my attention to a spot of aviation photography, this is where the pain came from.

I had attended a few airshows but decided on a visit to the military low flying area in Wales, the Mac Loop as it's known. I had booked a couple of weeks of work with the intention of cramming in as much photography as possible, with trips planned for Norfolk and anywhere else that took my fancy. On arrival to the Mac Loop I was stunned at the shear height and steepness of the climb to get to the photography area. I loaded about 50lbs of gear on my back and started the climb, stopping every few feet to cough up another piece of lung.
I finally got to the photography area and collasped onto the floor in a heap, sweating and gasping for air,(time for a fag). There was already someone at this spot and he said to me "I had no way of telling you mate but there's a car park just behind us!".
'Oh for @$#% sake! oh well I know for next time' I thought.

It took about 1/2 an hour to recover from the climb but the views from the top were well worth the effort.




This is the gap that the fighter aircraft fly through.



It can take a bit of time before any aircraft turn and some times they might not even make an appearance but while I was waiting my back started to hurt. I wasn't too bothered as I've suffered from a bad back for a number of years so I took some pain killers and thought nothing more of it.
It wasn't much of a wait before the first aircrafts of the day turned up, a couple of American F15 Eagles from Lakenheath.





The noise and speed at which they fly through is fantastic, even more so at eye level..

This F15 was at full afterburner and knife edged through the gap...





By now my back was starting to hurt more than normal, hand holding the 600mm lens wasn't helping but I was buzzing and looking forward to what else might turn up.
Next up was the Brits in the new Euro fighter Typhoon, this pilot nearly went through upside down..







We also had a few Harriers come through but by now the weather was closing in on us..





The view down the valley..



The light had all but gone now so I headed back to the car for the long drive home pleased with what I had seen and photographed but concerned about the amount of pain I was in. The drive home was terrible with my back giving me no end of grief.

A hot bath and a few more pain killers when I got home and a nights sleep was all I thought I needed, but I was wrong. I awoke the next day to intense pain and nevre spasms in my back, I ended up spending 2 weeks in bed and lost the feeling in my left foot. I couldn't believe it, my back hadn't been this bad since I first injured it on a motorbike some 14 years ago. It took the rest of September and the whole of this month to get it somewhere near right again although I still haven't got all the feeling back in my foot.

Although I was in a great deal of pain and unable to walk properly through most of October I was still keen to get a few shots of the Red Deer Rut which starts in October. I took a trip up to Bradgate park and hobbled my way into the park along with hundreds of other photographers, the amount of people with cameras blew me away. This causes lots of problems when trying to capture a good image as you always get a few newbies or just plain idiots with no fieldcraft hounding the Stags hoping to get the magical image but all this does is push the deer into the out of bounds area, even then that doesn't stop some of the prats following them.

I decided to stay away from the masses and try my luck further into the park where I found a nice Stag performing well in the thick bracken.





He was soon joined by another Stag and a fight erupted...



I grabbed a few more images and decided to call it a day, a few idiots had seen the fight and walked into the out of bounds area trying to get some shots which pushed the Stags and hinds further into the wooded area. On my way out of the park I took an image of just a hand full of photographers that had turned up just to show people how busy it can get, these were the sensible ones by the way...



I visited my local park for an hour one afternoon managed a few nice shots of the Stags but to be honest I really wasn't up to it. Not being able to walk properly spoilt my photography plans for September and October. Hopefully the worst has passed now and as I sit here typing away my back feels much better, fingers crossed I can get out and start taking pictures again...

Thanks for looking.