G4ROB's Aircraft Photography Page

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One of my Hobbies is standing close to the perimeter fences of RAF Bases to take Digital Photographs and Video of the aircraft.
One of my Favourite bases is RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire... arguably the busiest RAF base in the UK at this time featuring several Squadrons of Eurofighter Typhoons...
The Fast Jet and Weapons Evaluation Squadron of Tornado's and Harriers which evaluates new weaponry.. and the World Famous BBMF..
the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight... Genuine Lancaster, Spitfires, Hurricanes and a Dakota from WW2.
The Visitors centre is well worth a visit as is the guided tour around the BBMF Hanger by very knowledgeable guides, many of whom flew in the aircraft concerned.

RAF Cottesmore in Rutland is now a Harrier Base...  if you want to see Harriers CLOSE UP then this is the place.

I have added a few links at the bottom of this page for those who want so visit the bases themselves.

Before I show some of my Photographs I will explain the setup I use.

A CANON EOS 400D Digital SLR
28-350mm f5.6 Zoom Lens
Two 4Gb FAST Flash cards
I dont' use a tripod .. the jets simply move too quickly... A Monopod is useful for those very long distance Pics of Static Aircraft though.
A Dell Latitude Laptop PC with Multicard reader to which I can download the pictures and view with ease.
Various Photo editing software...   you will be using the one you prefer but with my Canon it is essential that the
program I use has capability to handle CR2 files..... Files in RAW Mode which do not have any jpeg compression and produce pictures of around 10-12Mb
which are as good as they come.

What will you need to take Pictures like these....
1) a GOOD Digital (or std 35mm film SLR if you dont mind spending a fortune on film and processing...
I have taken over 4800 Pictures in a 7 day session.. Calculate the cost of that lot on film ! )
2) a PC with Picture editing programs and a CD / DVD writer to which you can save and store your pictures

What I mean by a GOOD DIGITAL Camera is a Digital SLR.
The Major manufacturers like Canon and Nikon make a range of suitable cameras but the main thing to be aware of is that you will
require a removable Lens of decent size (a small glass lens lets a lot less light through to the Chip so poorer pictures often result)
The other VERY Important requirement is a low a SHUTTER LAG time as possible.

For those reading this who have a non SLR digital camera will be aware of the delay between pressing the shutter button and actually
taking the picture.  This delay or Shutter Lag as it's called is critical.  Compact Digital cameras are fine for taking snapshots
of the family... but try to take a picture of something that's moving fast... even a Dog running can be easily missed !!!
Try taking a picture of a RAF Typhoon flying overhead at 200ft doing 400mph and you need a camera that can cope.
If you are practiced and patient you will get ONE Picture of the jet... but by the time the camera has processed and saved the picture the jet is 1/2 a mile away !!!

The Canon EOS 400D will take 4 pictures a second with a shutter lag in the Milliseconds... press the button and off it goes !!!

There are better Digital SLR's on the market but the 400D does me fine.
I upgraded from a 350D last year... the earlier 300D and 350D are well capable of taking decent pictures of FAST Jets !!

 

Right... Now on to a selection of my Pictures... ALL are Original and NONE have been re-touched or edited on a PC Program.
I have left them like this to show what the originals look like... with practice they can ALL be improved by a suitable PC Program.

The only thing I have done is reduce the size from 2.5Mb  to 10+ Mb to a suitable size for Web site use.
If you want to see any of these examples in Full size High Res then please eMail me.

I hope you have Broadband... there are a lot of large pictures loading... and I hope you think the wait is worth it !!!

ENJOY !

     
A Tornado from 41sq Coningsby at around 100ft on finals              Another Tornado on Runway 07 Coningsby Final approach

 

    
A series of three Pictures of a Harrier GR9A ZG478  41 sq Coningsby

 

A Nice Wave from Pilot WC GM Waterfall..
C/O of 41sq at the controls of Harrier GR9A  ZG478  

         
The BBMF Lancaster based at RAF Coningsby

 

   
Two Pictures of the BBMF Dakota based at RAF Coningsby.
Coningsby Church in the background.

 

If you want to visit RAF Coningsby, I can personally recommend LAPWING LODGE as a place to stay for
a short break or full Holiday.
You will be within 5 minutes drive of all the Coningsby locations shown on this page and enjoy the great facilities
the Lodge and Tattershall Country Park offer

 

  
The BBMF Spitfire and Hurricane RAF Coningsby

 

   
Four Pictures of Harriers based at RAF Cottesmore...
and YES the second one is Hovering directly above me... at about 100 ft
and YES it was HOT and VERY Noisy !!!
Hearing protection is a must if you are going to get this close to a Jet Aircraft

 

 


A USAF F15 from Lakenheath during a Low FlyPast over RAF Coningsby

 

   
Eurofighter Typhoons at RAF Coningsby

 

 

 

 
             The Flight Line at RAF Coningsby 
and later in the day..
HEY !...Flt Lt J McMeeking is obviously enjoying himself... as I would be if I ever got the chance !!!
For those who are not sure just how close the Typhoon is...
This location is around 25 yards from the aircraft taxiing to take off.
You don't need big Zoom lenses at Coningsby.
The Spitfire and Hurricane of the BBMF are Fantastic when you are this close !

 

 
YES these are Real Pictures at MINIMUM ZOOM 28mm...  They have NOT been Digitally enhanced or altered
in any way. If you are brave (or foolish enough) to get THIS close please email me.
I will tell you where to stand to get pictures like this.
The 2nd Picture shows what a Typhoon looks like when its less than 50ft above you coming into land.
Make sure you are wearing HEARING PROTECTION if you get this close

 

 
The three "Display" Typhoons from RAF Coningsby getting some Practice for the 2008 Display season.
The second picture shows the first of the three showing a "performance take off"....
ZERO to Take off in less than 1000ft then going VERTICAL with Full Reheat
A Truly AWESOME Sight !!!

 

        

41sq Tornado's at Full Re-heat take Off

  
      An English Electric Lightning gate Guardian being towed for exhibition
There are now no Lightnings flying in the UK

 

The following sequence of Five Pictures was taken on the final day of flight
for the now disbanded 6 Sqd Jaguars RAF Coningsby
There were Hundreds of sight seeers there including TV film crews.
The 2nd Photo shows part of the line up of all 13 Jaguars prior to Take off

   

   

 

This last Picture in the sequence shows 12 of the 13 Jaguars flying in a formation "6" for their Squadron Number.
Grown men wept at the sight !!!!

       

   

      

      

Aircraft Photography Links

LAPWING LODGE
A Great Place to stay for a short break or full
Holiday CLOSE to RAF Coningsby !
So close it takes less than 5 minutes by car
to reach the Best Spotting sites around the base

Thunder and Lightnings
RAF Base Details for Spotters.. Very useful Info for anyone visiting RAF bases

LowFly.Net
Great resource for the Low Altitude Enthusiast
Fighter Control
Military Aviation Enthusiast Forum
Air Scene UK
UK Air Show Dates and More
ON TARGET
The Cottesmore Aviation group
Covers details of RAF bases:
Cottesmore, Coningsby, Wittering, Kinloss, Lossimouth
and Bombing Range RAF Holbeach
Airliners.Net
The Largest Aviation Resource on the Internet
Boasts 300,000 visitors Daily and over
1.25 Million Photos of all types of Aircraft from all over
the World... Military, Civilian and Commercial.
Fully searchable too...
Some Fantastic Pictures here !!!

 

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