Tag Archives: uk

Royal Navy Warships at Portsmouth

My aerial photo searches brought me to some shots of the Royal Navy’s dockyard at Portsmouth.  One or two shots from this were used in a post about a flight I took with Pete but not very many.  Flying over the home of the Royal Navy, we got to see a bunch of ships – large and small.  HMS Bristol was moored for use as a training ship.  I think she may have now been relieved of that duty so don’t know whether she is still around and for how long.

Plenty of frigates were moored alongside and there were surplus Type 42 destroyers at various locations too.  This got me thinking about a day many years ago when we were in Portsmouth for some reason.  We took a trip around the harbour in a sightseeing boat and I got a few shots of some ships then too so these are interspersed here.  Now the arrival of the two carriers to the fleet would mean a good chance of getting a far larger vessel alongside.  Might have to think about doing something like this again at some point when I am in the UK.

The First Planes I Flew

These photos are not too sharp I’m afraid.  However, they are important to me.  The summer of 1986 had me just outside Chichester learning to fly at the historic Goodwood Aerodrome.  Along with a bunch of similarly aged lads, we were being taught the basics of aviation courtesy of HMG.  It was an amazing summer and, since we were flying once or twice a day, we were learning very quickly.  I soloed on the Friday of my first week there having never even been inside a light aircraft prior to the Monday.

At some point during the summer, I borrowed my Mum’s camera and took a few pictures of the PA-38 Tomahawks that the flying school operated.  These are those planes.  In the line up of the planes can be seen G-BGRL.  This was the very first plane I flew and will always be a plane that I am fond of.  The fence behind them had a hole for a while when one student got to close with his wingtip.  It was redefined as a gate named after his student number.  The club had a PA-28 which is I the background in which I was self loading cargo for a flight for a student needing some weight and a couple of Gazelles lived next door.  That was an outstanding summer.

Cattle Traffic Jam in Beaulieu

For some reason, I don’t think this made it to a post previously.  Nancy and I were going through some old shots from vacations in the UK and we made a stop in Beaulieu at the beginning of a trip nearly a decade ago.  (This stop included me having a nap in the car as the jet lag caught up with me.). One of the funny things of this visit was that some cattle were wandering through the middle of the village.  If you have ever been to Yellowstone, you know that the bison have priority over the cars.  UK cattle might not have the same weight as a bison but I assure you that the average UK motorist is not going to try their luck.

QE2 Sails to the Falklands – A Crappy 110 Shot

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!

Bury St Edmunds

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

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.

RIAT 2010 Arrivals

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!

Goodwood Festival of Speed

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.

B-2 At Fairford

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.

Heathrow From a While Back

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.