My negative scanning exploits have been covered a fair bit on this blog. Up to now, this has been focused on my 35mm films. However, when I was a kid, I had a 110 film camera. This was not what you would consider the pinnacle of photographic technology. It was a small, plastic camera with a lens that I doubt was up to much. 110 film came in a cartridge and was tiny so you were making an image on a small frame with a dodgy lens and nothing much you could control.
I didn’t know what I was doing so we were destined for great results! I didn’t understand how much light would be available so would take shots indoors without a flash and be shocked that nothing came out or that it was very blurry. The viewfinder was offset so you had parallax issues which became apparent when you tried to photograph something up close. All in all, not great. However, for general shots, it would give you a result. Not a good result but a result.
I dug out some of these 110 negatives to see what I could find. Some of the shots, while not of any quality, are historically significant. In 1982, we were living in a flat on the waterfront in Cowes. We had a lovely view across the Solent. We could see from directly north off to the east. Part of the building obscured our view to the west but our bathroom had a small window that looked across the roof and could give a less obscured view to the west. It was from here I photographed the QE2 as she sailed for the Falklands.
She had been requisitioned for the war and went into Southampton to be modified. The rear decks were cut back and the swimming pools plated over to make helicopter landing pads. All the nice stuff was taken out and she sailed with 5 Brigade aboard heading for an uncertain future. She came out Southampton Water, negotiated around Brambles Bank and then came past us and on her way. At one point a pair of Sea Kings flew over the top.
Canberra’s departure and return were bigger events for us when they happened and I remember them both vividly. QE2 came back on a school day and I could see her coming up the Solent from the tower building in the center of the school but it was a distant return. Canberra came back at the weekend and was part of an amazing flotilla as everyone seemed to be out to greet her. I have no shots of that!
At the time of writing this post (not sure when it will actually get published yet) it is a year since we went to the UK for a couple of weeks. There are still quite a few topics from that trip that I have not got around to posting about. One of those was our visit to Bury St Edmunds. It was a pretty hot day when we were there as the second week of our trip turned in to quite a scorcher. I had been to Bury St Edmunds before but not for about 30 years.
As town names go, this one isn’t very imaginative. It is the town in which St Edmund is buried. I wonder how long they thought about that one. We didn’t have time to check out the whole town but just got to explore in the area around the cathedral of which more will come another time. There are ruins in the park area around the cathedral and more churches in close proximity. If you want to get your worship in, this is the place for you.
There are more modern buildings in the area too but more modern is a relative term. Still pretty old by the standards of our current home! The square looked like it was ready for a market to be held but clearly not the day we were there.
Flatford Mill is a very well known tourist attraction. I last visited it about 30 years ago when a friend of mine was living there for her job. The mill is in an area known colloquially as Constable Country. The artist lived in the area and many of his paintings are of the local landscape. The mill itself is possibly best known for being the subject of the painting The Haywain. Originally we had intended to walk along the paths that line the river near the mill. However, even though we were there quite early in the day, it was already stupidly hot and the idea of walking far was not appealing. Instead we wandered around the mill, had an ice cream and some lunch and took a look at the buildings that Constable had painted – all while trying to visualize where the settings were and how much they had changed.
I put together a selection of shots from the RIAT show of 2006 in this post. It was another four years before I was back for my next visit. This time I made a visit to the Park and View East rather than the west. This was the end at which everything was landing, and it also provided a good view of some of the arrivals as they taxied to the ramp.
The weather started out okay, but it got steadily worse resulting ion a torrential downpour. Some movements were in such low light that it was almost like shooting at night. The stormy weather passed and then the flying could resume. Given the variety of things that were showing up, I will focus this post on the arrival traffic, and we can add some of the displays in a different post.
Plenty of helicopters as well as the fast jets. I had not shot at this location before and I was not prepared for how crowded it could be and the way you needed to be at the front. That limited some of my shots unfortunately. Also, there was a lot of heat haze in the air so some of the nicer angles on the approach produced shots that are not sharp enough. Still, a fun day out. Drying out took a while that night though!
More from the archives today. Only once have I made the trip to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. For car enthusiasts, this is quite the event. An enormous variety of motor vehicles are on display and the drive them up the hill across the estate past the main house – a place I am quite familiar with having spent a summer living in the stable block around the corner. Oh how I wish they had done this when I was there!
My one trip would have probably been in 2003 shortly before leaving the UK. I only got a few photos but there are some rather unusual cars in the shots I did take. I thought that a few of you are in to cars and might be interested in what was there. Maybe some of you were there too? One day I will try and be back when it is on again and make another trip.
I was thinking back to previous RIAT shows when I was putting together the 2006 post here. RIAT was my first encounter with the B-2. I recall it showing up to a show one year for a flyby without landing. It flew through accompanied by a pair of F-15Cs, one on each wing. Then, another year – maybe the next but I don’t recall for sure – one was actually deployed to the show. It was parked up so close to everyone on the flight line. I took quite a few pictures of it because it was so new and interesting. (A few pictures in the film days was a let less than it became in the digital days!) Even now, I think a show would consider it quite a coup to have a B-2 on the ground.
When we first lived in Chicago, I was working for a UK based company. I used to make regular trips to London to check in with the mother ship. For the return journey, I would usually take the morning flight back to O’Hare from Heathrow. In those days, BA operated from Terminal 4 and there was a Hilton hotel attached to the terminal. This made the whole process very easy. Get up, walk across the bridge to the terminal and check in. It also meant I could get the occasional shots of operations.
There was a fire escape on the side of the hotel that provided a view to the east and to a bit of the airfield itself. It was a bit restricted as views go but it was not bad. I could get some shots of the operations if the direction of the flow was right. I would also get up early sometimes to see the arrivals coming in as the sun was coming up. Here are some of the shots I got from there.
When I lived in the UK, a trip to RIAT was a regular thing for me. After I started shooting digital, I was living in the US so RIAT was more than just a day trip. My first visit with the digital camera was in 2006. I had to be in the UK for work so I timed it to coincide with RIAT because, you know, it would have been rude not to. With RIAT canceled this year due to the ongoing virus issues, I figured I would jump back to this show to provide some highlights.
I spent two days there. I made my first arrivals day visit and spent the day at the west end which was really nice. Planes were arriving from that direction anyway so it worked out well. The conditions were really nice on both days too so it was a fun and successful shoot. Mikoyan-Gurevich brought there MiG-29OVT demonstrator with thrust vectoring and it flipped its way around the sky with abandon. There was the usual selection of types from around the world which makes RIAT so fun. There were also some older UK types making an appearance like the Canberra demonstration – the last RAF Canberra flights I saw – and the old Twin Pioneer.
A Czech Mil-24 Hind helicopter gunship in special tiger dquadron markings overflies RAF Fairford, UK.
Hopefully there is something in this selection that will be of interest from a great show. There have been more RIAT visits since so maybe I shall dig out some stuff from those years if I continue to struggle for material for future posts!
A Spanish Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon pulls hard during a display at RAF Fairford in the UK.
In the process of scanning so many old negatives, I come across shots that I had no idea I had taken. When I still shot film, I would not go nuts taking shots but I was certainly willing to take a shot of anything that I found interesting at the time. Since I had no idea that I was going to have a career in rail, I didn’t think trains would be very important. However, I am an engineer at heart and any big mechanical items catch my interest. It isn’t surprising that I found a few photos of trains. Some of my old colleagues will find these of interest. Others may just like them because they like trains. My sister will probably like the Class 50 just because she used to commute to work behind them for a number of years!
More from the film scanning archive. I made a trip to the museum at RAF Cosford when I was visiting my friends Jon and Charlie in the area. Now Jon works there but at the time it was just an extra to my visit. At the time, British Airways had a collection of aircraft at the museum. This included lots of their older types in storage. Sadly, the cost of keeping the collection was not something BA management deemed worthwhile and they stopped funding it. The museum couldn’t afford to keep them up so they were scrapped on site. I wish I had a better record of them but this is all I have. Fortunately, others will have done better recording them.