Last weekend I was invited to a local model aircraft flying club. I drove out to rural Oxfordshire, down a dirt track, past a couple of farms, and was greeted with a great variety of model aircraft and their owners.
They’d set themselves up in a field for a family day, and beyond the BBQ and bouncy castle, was some neatly cut grass which made their runway. Some of the time was dedicated to general flying, some to competitions of flying and landing accuracy, some for none-flyers to try their hand at flying.
I took my camera along to get some photos, and due to the great weather and good light managed to get some good photos. I’m aiming to see the aircraft flying again soon, so you may find another blog post in a few weeks!
A model Spitfire coming into land.
When flying, some of the models look so realistic.
No all landings go according to plan.
I'm not sure what aircraft this is, but I'm pretty sure the real one doesn't have an Apple logo on it.
A model Eurofighter Typhoon - one of my favourite aircraft. This model had real jet engines.
A model aircraft being prepared for departure.
Model aircraft enthusiasts have a lot of aircraft and equipment.
Dave, who invited me along, gets one of his aircraft going.
Some of the model aircraft have model pilots too.
Sometimes the model pilots look like they mean business.
Last weekend, after I’d visited the World Pooh Sticks Championships, I went on to the Pendon Museum. Pendon is just five minutes drive from the Pooh Sticks site and houses three large miniature landscape scenes, a small shop, and a tea room.
The museum was founded in the 1950s by Roye England, and although I’m new to the world of modelling the thing that makes it stand out to me is the attention to detail in the models. I got chatting to some of the friendly volunteer staff who told me that alongside some of the commercially available models there’s a lot of custom built models. Not only do Pendon build their own models, they also run workshops on modelling techniques. One day an American clay sculptor visited and was so taken with the place that she hand made several of the figures exactly to the requirements of the Pendon scenes… you don’t get much more unique than that!
From a photography point of view there’s so much to shoot, and with the relaxed atmosphere, tea and coffee on tap, and protection from whatever the British weather is doing, I could easily spend an entire day here. Sometimes it’s hard to choose a maximum of ten photos from a collection to blog, and this is one of those occasions… even after a couple of rounds of culling I still had 33 photos to choose from, so I hope those I’ve settled on give a good feel of the Pendon Museum.
I’m a big fan of macro photography – taking photos of really small detailed things, generally insects, flowers, and the like. I’ve often seen people use these techniques with Lego mini figures to create fun photos and scenes – a friend of mine, Al Power, seems to have hundreds of the figures and often amazes me with some of his photos. Recently I spotted some photos from Matt Lincoln advertising a Jisc event, which were taken using a different type of mini figure (see examples here and here). It took me a while to realise that these were actually figures from the model railway world.
I browsed a few model shops and a whole new culture opened before my eyes. I expected model trains and railway-related figures, but there’s so much more variety available, even including some adult themes – something I wasn’t expecting to see! So I’ve bought a few figures and some time soon I’ll blog some photos with them.
To capture the photos below I went armed with my macro lens (Olympus 60mm), fisheye lens (Samyang 7.5mm), and walkabout zoom lens (Olympus14-42mm), and a Lens Skirt. The Lens Skirt is basically a flexible fabric pyramid with no bottom and a hole for the lens at the top, it allows me to cut out any reflections when I’m taking photographs through glass. I bought it for taking photos at aquariums and have also used it to take landscape shots from the top of tall buildings. It’s very simple and very effective.
The main railway landscape - it's quite a substantial size.
An example of how scenery is built up.
A close up of one of the figures - is it a scout, a postman, or other person?
The attention to detail is amazing, it looks so lifelike.
A train rushes past a station.
A guard by a Great Western train.
More figures which bring the scene to life.
The main control box.
The scene features a valley and tunnels.
Another life-life scene, with a figure by a river.