Hillsides and Airfields

13th June 2011
Well I haven't got around to doing much wildlife photography yet but I've been up a few hills and on a few airfields with the camera. Display season has now started and I took a trip over to Old Warden in Bedfordshire for the season opener.

Old Warden has a very nice colllection of vintage aircraft and they usually put on a great display, unfortunately the weather played it's part yet again! The sun was out and there wasn't a cloud in the sky but the wind was blowing a gale. This unfortunately put and end to a lot of the old stuff getting airborne as it was just too dangerous to fly in such strong cross winds. All was not lost though, the F86 Sabre based at Duxford made it over and put on a great display as usual. I've got a bit of a soft spot for this aircraft.. :-)



Managed to get some of my best images to date of Old Wardens Hawker Sea Hurricane



and I finally got some half decent images of the Westland Lysander.



Next up was a trip to the low fly area in Wales. As you all know the RAF are fighting all over the place at the moment so chances of getting much through are slim but as they say, you've got to be in it to win it..
First trip wasn't great, we had two Typhoons through in the morning but the light was too harsh so I've binned most of those shots and it was hours before we had another visit which was in the shape of some BAe Hawk trainers from RAF Valley.



We had a few more Hawks before a C130 came into view and made two passes.



It all went quiet again for several hours and just before I was going to call it a day, two special tail Navy Hawks came screaming around the corner which made a nice end to the day.



A bit of map reading going on in the back seat..



With the long waits between aircraft on my first visit I was praying for a better day second time around but it was even worse. I was on top of the hill by about 8.30 am and the first aircraft through was at 2.15 pm, but boy was worth the wait. This is what it's all about, watching an RAF Tornado GR4 with it's wings swept back going like a bat out of hell... Awesome sight and sound..

9SQD Tornado GR4 low and fast...





Second time around.



we had a few Hawks come through after the Tornado before I witnessed the best pass I've seen to date by a Typhoon. All I can say is, it was being flown like he'd stolen it. I reckon it was a Harrier pilot at the controls, after the Harriers were scrapped most of the pilots went onto other airframes including the Typhoon. Now Harrier pilots always flew their aircraft lower faster and more aggressive than the other pilots and this Typhoon was being flown in that manner. I could be wrong but if this is the sort of pass we can come to expect! then it's happy days...

Heading straight for me....



and over my head. This is a full frame shot, my ears are still ringing... :-)



It was a great pass to end what was a long day...

Next up was another airfield, well, it was an airfield in the war. It's now Silverstone race circuit and as you all know I hate Silverstone. Still, I wanted images of Rossi on the Ducati so I had to put aside my dislike of the place to try and get some images from the Friday free practice session.
I ended up walking all the way around to the other side of the circuit before finally finding a half decent spot. I was still shooting through thick fencing but I was closer to the action and didn't need to use my extender on the 600mm lens. Here's a few images from the session.

Valentino Rossi on the Ducati.



Cal Crutchlow on the Yamaha, poor lad broke his collar bone on the saturday putting him out of his home GP.





Colin Edwards, he managed a third place on race day despite having thirteen screws in his shoulder.. Tough as old boots these blokes...



Jorge Lorenzo, one of my favourites, silky smooth this lad..



Last but not least Casey Stoner, awesome to watch with a super aggressive riding style. I took this image from further around the circuit and needed to use the extender, think I kept about three or four images from this spot..



Well that's about it for now....
Thanks for looking.