Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Aircoupe Air To Air

Recently a very small window of opportunity gave me the chance to get airbourne with a pair of 1960s Aircoupes. The intended plan had been to get some shots of the pair of Aircoupes together, but after take off with increasing blustery conditions and intermittent comms we decided to air on the side of caution and just photograph the aircraft individually.

Above all else the main aim was to ensure we got a few shots of G-ARHC, the Forney Aircoupe. Unfortunately due to various circumstances the current owner has had little time to fly it, and with it being put up for sale this may have been the last chance to get some airbourne photos.

With the shots of G-ARHC in the bag it was the turn of visiting Alon Aircoupe, G-HARY. Unfortunately as we hadn't been able to shoot the pair G-HARY had even less time infront of the camera, but we were able to get a few shots in the camera before G-HARY set course for home.

Full details of G-HARY can be found at

Monday, 5 December 2011

Air Ambulance After Dark

With the dark nights upon us, it doesn't mean we need to put the cameras away any earlier, we just need to look for different subjects or simply look at existing subjects in a different way.

An example of this is the EC135 Midlands Air Ambulance, G-WMAS, which I have photographed on numerous previous occassions. On Saturday night though, the helicopter was briefly parked on a floodlit helipad and the contrast of the red against the colour cast sky and the fllodlit green grass provided too good an opportunity to miss...


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Early Sunday Lunch

Looking out of the back window on a Sunday morning I often expect to see some of the more common suburban garden bird types dropping in for a bit of bread or seed off the bird table. More often that not I find myself cursing the Pigeons that also descend on the garden and seem to hoover all the food up, before the Sparrows, Blackbirds and Robin have had chance to feed.

This Sunday was a little different though, the feeding party was joined by a female Sparrowhawk and her early lunch consisted of....Pigeon!!

I have seen a Sparrowhawk in the area a few times over the last couple of years, but this is the first time I've actually seen one in the garden. Worried that I was going to disturb it, the following photos were actually taken through a double glazed window whilst doing my best to hide behind the curtain.

Considering the camera settings, iso1600 giving me 1/60th at f5.6 and iso3200 giving 1/200th at f5.6, and the fact that I was shooting through a double glazed window, they have still provided a reasonable result.

Click On Either Photo To View Larger

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Wales Rally GB 2011 - Builth Wells Shakedown

Just a few taster images, details and further images to follow........

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Vintage Ploughing Match - Horsepower of the Horsey Type

Advertised in one of the local pubs for the 16th October was a Vintage Ploughing Match taking place in the nearby village of Trysull. So, come the 16th, with the unseasonably warm weather and bright skies, a friend and I decided to pop along with the cameras for an hour. By the time we got there virtually all of the tractors had finished, but fortunately the working horses were still hard at it.

Im afraid I don't know one type of horse from another so I'll leave you to decide if they are Shires, Clydesdales or Suffolk Punches.

From chatting with some of the spectators and a couple of the competitors I was told that part of the skill of ploughing with horses is to keep them walking. Apparently it is a lot easier for the horses to trot but it makes the plough almost impossible to control.

This pair definately preferred the idea of a trot.

I was also surprised how patiently the horses would wait while taking a break, some of the pairs just stood quietly on their own.

A few more mixed photos


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Flying In A Russian Classic - The Antonov AN2 Colt - Worlds Largest Single Engined Biplane

Although I don't fly myself, many of you are aware of my passion for aviation which over the years has provided the chance to fly in a number of different types. Recently, thanks to the generosity of a friend, I had the rare opportunity to take a short flight in an Antonov An2, one of only two currently operating within the UK.

Widely recognised as the worlds largest single engined biplane, (An3 is slightly bigger, but is a modified An2) the An2 first took to the air in 1947. By the end of the production run in 1991 nearly 18,000 examples had been produced by the Soviet Union, Poland and China, the latter two countries producing the type under licence. Code named 'Colt' by NATO the An2 has been in use with many nations including Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Byelorussia, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Georgia, Germany,Hungary, Laos, Latvia, Mali, Mongolia, Nicaragua, North Korea, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovak Republic, Tadjikistan, Ukraine, USSR, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

At 6'3" USA Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann provides some idea of the size of the An2

The example that I got the opportunity to fly on, was the Lithuanian registered LY-AUP. Based at Tattenhill this example is often seen attending airshows in the capable hands of John Calverley. On this occasion a friend had called by to say that he would be flying the AN2, with John, into Halfpenny Green the following day and that all being well there might be an opportunity to take a trip. Well the photos tell the story, although time was very tight, Marcus kindly made the trip happen.

     The business end and the back end - basic but functional.                                 Smokey start up!

John and Marcus line the An2 up for a landing on the 10 grass strip.

The flight was over all too soon, but I owe a big thank you to John for sparing the time (hope you weren't too late back to Tattenhill) and Marcus for providing the unique opportunity to sample the wonderful An2.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

New Birmingham Library - The First 12 Months

One of my current photographic commissions is to undertake progress and finished photography of the prestigious New Library of Birmingham Development.

Being built by the multi-national Wolverhampton-based construction specialist Carillion, the multi million pound Library of Birmingham occupies a prime site on Centenary Square between the Repertory Theatre and Baskerville House. When complete it will have the capacity to accommodate more than three million visitors a year making it the second largest library in the UK. Only the British Library which operates by appointment only and does not lend, will be larger.

Designed by Dutch architects Mecanoo, the new library is already becoming an iconic landmark, as the expanding glazed elevations are adorned with the circular metal features. (See my earlier September post - Can You Tell What It Is Yet). A quick search on Google against 'New Birmingham Library', and the number of results alone gives some idea of the importance and prominence of this development. Even attending site on a monthly basis there is a real buzz about the project, a feeling that sadly lacks on many projects these days.

The following images simply provide a snapshot of the site over the first twelve months of its development, look out for further images in future posts.

Site of New Birmingham Library - January 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - February 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - March 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - April 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - May 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - June 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - July 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - August 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - September 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - October 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - November 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - December 2010

Monday, 26 September 2011

Severn Valley Railway Gala - After Dark Photos

Once a year the Severn Valley Railway holds an Autumn Steam Gala which includes 'through the night running'. Although I confess I know nothing about steam trains, I was captivated by the whole atmosphere in 2010 and so I was determined to spend some time there again in 2011.

The following are a selection of images taken over the Friday and Saturday nights at both Bewdley and Bridgnorth between the hours of 7pm and 2am.