IWM Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow

Duxford held it’s Battle of Britain Airshow over the weekend 23rd / 24th September.  Duxford is also celebrating its centenary this year having been established as an airfield in 1917 and then hosting the RAF, USAAF and then the RAF again.  It is now home to the Imperial War Museum (IWM) as well as commercial enterprises such as The Fighter Collection (TFC), Old Flying Machine Company, Aircraft Restoration Company (ARC), Historic Aircraft Company and the B17 Preservation Society.  The weather for the flying was mostly OK – showers giving way to overcast on Saturday but sunny and warm on Sunday.

The flying programme for both days was very similar and with only a couple of unserviceability’s and a tricky crosswind on Sunday meant 90% flew as advertised.  Both days opened with the RAF Parachute Display Team, The Falcons.  Next came a unique formation of 6 Hawker Hurricanes of various Mk’s plus a Sea Hurricane. Then the display was split up into groups of aircraft that have a historical relationship ending with two “classic” Duxford items, the Spitfire Balbo and then the Battle of Britain finale formation.


Hispano Ha-1112 Buchon
Hispano Ha-1112 Buchon on the flight line.
Hawker Fury Mk II
Fury Mk II from Air Leasing on the flight line.


Middle Wallop Museum

A very quick drive by of the Army Air Corps museum at Middle Wallop.  A quick roll of Portra 400 was lurking in my RZ67.  I have post processed this as a monochrome image….

The Westland Scout on gate guard at the Army Air Corps Museum Middle Wallop.
The Westland Scout on gate guard at the Army Air Corps Museum Middle Wallop.

Brenizer Method

A quick go at this technique – pioneered by Ryan Brenizer, a wedding photographer from the US.

The Brenizer method puts the emphasis on the amount of background blur (bokeh) and depth of field at a given field of view. Best way to achieve that is to stand relatively (or very) close to your subject and photograph it with as fast a lens as possible wide-open (or close to wide-open). In this image practice, 50mm f/2.8 at 1/320 and ISO 400.


Test of the Brenizer method in Grovelly Wood.
Test of the Brenizer method in Grovelly Wood.


New scanner!!

Just invested in an Epson V800 Photo flatbed scanner – now scanning endless badly looked after negatives……..

RAF Rescue Wessex landing close to the tower at RAF Holbeach Range in 1988
RAF Rescue Wessex landing close to the tower at RAF Holbeach Range in 1988….


Fulcrum's from 1 Sqn Czech Airforce at IAT Boscombe Down in June '92.
Fulcrum’s from 1 Sqn Czech Airforce at IAT Boscombe Down in June ’92.


Shuttleworth's Gauntlet
Shuttleworth’s Gauntlet

First images from the RZ67

So I have shot two rolls of film on the RZ.  Sent them of to be processed and scanned onto disc by AG Photo Lab in Birmingham.  It was a steep learning curve as the camera has no light meter and focussing is via a bellows system – so you essentially wind the lens towards or away from the back of the camera.  I used an iPhone app to judge the light (just called Light Meter) and it seemed to do OK, although I will be getting something a bit better soon.  Focussing was a little difficult at first but once I got into the swing of things it was straightforward.  So the two images below are using Ilford FP4 Plus film stock with an ISO of  125 on a sunny day on a tripod.

Alfie and Daisy
Alfie and Daisy
Emma rocking out
Emma rocking out

Medium Format…….

A new acquisition!  A Mamiya RZ67 medium format camera all the way from Japan (via Ebay!!). Going back to film and zero automation is a daunting prospect but we’ve bitten the bullet and the kit is here so I thought  I should just crack on.  The famous Windows XP desktop image (called Bliss) of the rolling green hills and sunny sky was taken by Charles O’Rear using an RZ67 in 1996 which Microsoft reported bought in 2002 for a low 6 figure sum…..

Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar

We spent a great afternoon at Biggin Hill recently with the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar.  A really nice set up with a bunch of Spitfires a Hurricane and a Bf109.  The hangar is bright and airy and almost OCD clean with the aircraft accessible and plenty of history to absorb!  There are 3 /4 Spitfires being restored including two with great desert camouflage.  My brother in law was having a flight in MJ627 so the hangers-on took advantage of the hospitality and relaxed during the flight.


Chalk Valley History Festival

June saw a visit to the Chalk Valley History Festival in Wiltshire.  An excellent talk by Max Hastings and Don McCullin (both Sir’s I think!)  was riveting, although they both have a certain amount of mental baggage saved up after all their adventures.

The festival organisers did pick up one of my images for future marketing so look out for this…..