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 swoops past Weston pier.
The Vulcan in silhouette, but with the camouflage still visible.
The iconic delta wing.
The sun shines on the Vulcan over Knightstone island.
Wales and the island of Flat Holm in the distance.
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.
The Red Arrows through their own smoke, looking moody.
The local wildlife didn't seem too bothered by the performance.
The Red Arrows split from vertical.
My favourite photo from the day... "look behind you!".
2014 marks one hundred years since the start of The Great War (World War One), and so a couple of weeks ago was a good time to visit The National Memorial Arboretum. I’d visited a couple of years previously, and nearly froze in the process, this time it was much warmer in the spring-like weather.
The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire is the UK’s centre for remembrance. It’s 150 acres of maturing woodland that contains memorials to armed forces and civil services.
Although war and personal sacrifice are such sombre subjects, and the memorials are so thought provoking, the Arboretum manages to offer a unique environment that welcomes everyone of all ages. When I was there I saw a mixture of war veterans, young adults, and families wandering around either paying their respects or learning about the history of what they were seeing.
I’d recommend everyone to visit just once, just to see, just to think.
The Armed Forces memorial.
Lest we forget.
The Royal Air Force memorial.
A low angle emphasises this memorial.
A fairground horse. at the Showmen's Guild memorial.
Queen Alexadra's Royal Army Nursing Corps.
They died serving their country. We will remember them.
Through this space a shaft of sunlight falls at the eleventh hours on the eleventh day of the eleventh month.