June 22, 2014

The Vulcan

Following hot on the heels of yesterdays post about The Red Arrows comes another Air Show favourite, the Vulcan.  The Vulcan was the final aircraft to display at the Weston Air Festival this weekend and, just like The Red Arrows, the display was in bright sunshine and a little cloud.

From a photography point of view having bright sun behind the subject means that a lot of photos come out like silhouettes.  With modern photo processing software it's possible to rescue some of the colour and detail, but usually to limited success.  Well, with my limited skill in Adobe Lightroom!  Today's trip out has made me realise that I need a longer zoom lens too.

This Avro Vulcan XH558 is run by the charity Vulcan To The Sky who maintain and run the aircraft for air shows.  Originally the Vulcan was a nuclear bomber, never used to deliver nuclear bombs in action luckily.  It's known for its distinctive delta wing (V shape) design and howling engines.  Have a look at the Vulcan To The Sky website for the history of this aircraft.  

When I was a child my Dad worked on Nimrod at Woodford and occasionally visited RAF Waddington, where the Vulcans were based.  Each year a Vulcan would display at the Woodford Air Show, and I vividly remember the Vulcan climbing vertically and forcing itself to stall and gracefully fall before powering up the engines to fly off.

The Vulcan passes overhead.

The Vulcan as a silhouette.

The Vulcan flies behind The Grand Pier at Weston-super-Mare.

The Vulcan over Knightstone Island, Weston-super-Mare.

The Vulcan far above Brean Down.

The Vulcan above the Severn Estuary, with Flat Holm island and Wales in the distance.

The Vulcan does actually have colours!

The Vulcan with a cloudy background.

The crowds loved the Vulcan.

The seagull wasn't too impressed. When the Vulcan powered up its engines, most of the seagulls flew away from the howling.

June 21, 2014

The Red Arrows

Today is the summer soltace, the longest day of the year, and so it seemed a good day to escape the stresses of life for a while and head to the Weston Air Festival for a bit of daylight.  I didn't have time to spend the whole day there, so just popped along to photograph The Red Arrows.

For anyone who doesn't know, The Red Arrows are the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team and can be found putting on amazing displays of close flying and colour at most of the main summer air shows here in the UK.  

Wanting to avoid the crowds, and knowing the local roads, I aimed to position myself on a hill to the north of Weston-super-Mare so that I could almost look down on the display.  Little did I know that half of Weston had the same idea.  The spot I was headed for was as crowded as the fantastic beach at Weston.

I decided to zoom into the town centre and get myself to the top of one of the towns multi storey car parks, where I enjoyed the display with a few like minded folk in the sun.

It was a great show, although it's one of the occasions I wished I had a longer lens to get closer to the action!  It was the first time I'd had a real use for fast continuous shooting and continual auto focus of the Olympus OMD E-M1, and was the ideal place to play with settings.

Someone didn't have their eye on the display!
Changing from white to coloured smoke, timed to perfection.
I love the dirty look of this photograph, created by all the smoke.
A Red Arrow, or a rocket?
Oi, you're going the wrong way!
The Red Arrows fan out, if you look carefully you can see the shadows.
More shadows from the strong sun.
About the only photo where you can see the red in The Red Arrows,
strong sun makes most photos look like silhouettes.
The seagulls didn't seem too bothered.
The lines and aircraft make this photograph look quite artistic.