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Photographic Portfolio of 2004
Images and photographic notes of my successes for the year

Each year I like to produce a collection of my best and favourite images. I will try and explain why I like them, and how I came to get the image, with camera settings and technique employed. Some will have been published in books and magazines and possibly in conjunction with features, so you can say those were also chosen by the editor in question. I hope you like my work from 2004.
Portfolios by Category

Air to air portfolio
- click here for more images and reports.
Harrier T.10 (ZH665 '113') in 1 Squadron markings of 'Joint Force Harrier', with Royal Navy pilot in backseat with a 4 Squadron Harrier GR.7 (ZD410 '39') both based at RAF Cottesmore. 
 My favourite air to air of the year, T.10s are rare air to air and the light and cloud are perfect.  Canon 10D 1/750 f8 ISO200 28-135 (44mm)

Jaguar GR.3A (XX112) of 6 squadron inscribed '90 years, 1914-2004, The Flying Canopeners', for its squadron anniversary at RAF Colitshall in May 2004. Canon 10D 1/750 f6.7 ISO 100 Canon 28-135mm (95mm). The Image was chosen by Aviation News as part of a report on the Government's White paper on the withdrawal of the Jaguar from RAF service and closure of their base at RAF Coltishall.
Left to right: Jaguar GR.3A (XZ113) of the SAOEU which became the Fast Jet & Weapons Operation Evaluation Unit (FJ&W OEU) and based at RAF Coningsby. Flying all day with our Tristar as part of a fuel consumption trial. Seen here banking to the left with the tanker, and the sun shining down the side of the Jaguar. Canon 10D 1/800 f5.6 ISO 100 Canon 28-135mm (80mm).
Spanish Air Force EF-18A Hornets (C.15-61 / 12-19 and C.15-50 / 12-08) of Ala 12 based at Torrejon, just before refuelling with RAF Tristar KC.1 (ZD950) callsign 'Fagin 42'. In the final week of a Tactical Leadership Program (TLP) four Spanish Air Force EF-18A Hornets, operating from Florennes in Belgium were tasked to perform air to air refuelling with two types of RAF tankers. Canon 10D 1/750 f5.6 ISO 100 + Canon 28-135mm (75mm).
Tornado F.3 (ZE838/GH) of 43 squadron when flying from Florennes Air Base in Belgium as part of the TLP 2004-4 exercise. Both tanker and the refuelled Tornado were turning, so the shot was taken looking down towards the underlying cloud. Canon 10D 1/750 f5.6 ISO 100 + Canon 28-135mm (56mm).
Typhoon T.1 (ZJ804) operating with BAE Systems at Warton (c/s Tarnish) was refuelling from 101 squadron VC-10 K.4.  This was my first opportunity to photograph the Typhoon air to air. It arrived an hour late and after one aborted attempt to receive fuel it went u/s and returned to base. Canon 10D 1/500 f6.7 ISO 100 + Canon 28-135mm (90mm).
Low level flying portfolio - click here for more images and reports.
Harrier GR.7 ZD466/56 of 20 (R) Squadron based at RAF Wittering.  Digital Photographer - "Philip Stevens has a passion for aviation photography, and is willing to go that little bit further to get the right image. Capturing images of a fast-moving jet is a challenge in itself but shooting the aircraft at low level with the hills in the background needs lots of preparation and patience. For this shot Philip positioned himself high up on an isolated Welsh hill ready for the RAF to fly below him. His kit of choice is the Canon 10D and the Canon 100-400mm L IS f4-f4.5 lens. He finds the digital x1.6 sensor crop factor has its advantages for turning the lens into a 640mm, especially as the jets don't tend to come that close. The ISO setting is dependent on the weather, as there can be very unpredictable conditions in the valleys. He also finds that Image Stabilisation (IS) is useful when shooting in low light conditions. The weather on the day was very dull and this Harrier was the only aircraft to make an appearance. The image was processed using PhotoShop and Neat Image to remove the grain associated with high ISO's." Canon 10D 1/800 f5.6 ISO 400. I think the above piece says it all. I spend much of my spare time up in the hills of Wales and the Lake District.
Tornado GR.4A (ZG705 'J') from 13 squadron at RAF Marham at low level through the Lake District. This is my favourite low level image of 2004 and one of my last of the year.
It did not require any cropping at all and is really sharp. The December lighting and dying bracken really make this into a special shot for me. 
Canon 10D 1/350 f5.6 -1/2 exposure compensation ISO 200 + Canon 100-400mm L IS f4-f4.5 (400mm).

Left to right: Typhoon T.1 (ZJ808 'BG') of 29(R) Squadron / Typhoon Operational Conversion Unit (TOCU), currently at BAe Warton. This was the first time a 29(R) Sqn Typhoon had been photographed at low level, ZJ808 was only delivered on 28th June 2004. The editor of Aviation News also appreciated this image.
Canon 10D 1/500 f6.7 ISO 200 + Canon 100-400mm L IS f4-f4.5 (260mm).
One of four F-15E Eagles of 48th FW from Lakenheath as 'Cluster Flight' at low level through the Lakes in September 2004. They are a rare sight flying at low level and usually flirt with the hilltops. The fourth and only Eagle (91-0602) of the four, flew low enough to get a decent low level image. I was particularly pleased as the day before I missed my first ever opportunity to capture an Eagle at low level by not having the camera set up. Canon 10D 1/500 f5.6 ISO 200 -1/2 exposure compensation + Canon 100-400mm L IS f4-f4.5 (220mm).
13 squadron Tornado GR.4A (ZG726). This image was shot into the sharp early morning sun in the Lake District in September. The long lens exaggerates the flying at low level effect by bringing the ground closer. Canon 10D 1/1000 f5.6 -1/2 exposure compensation + Canon 100-400mm L IS f4-f4.5 (400mm).
My Low Level Photography feature in EOS magazine gave me the opportunity to describe my activities in the hills of Wales and to show off the images above. Taken at two locations it shows the Hawk at low level. Above left: FRADU Royal Navy Hawk T.1 (XX238) from RNAS Culdrose Canon 10D 1/1000 at f7.1 ISO 200 + Canon 300mm f4 with x1.4 extender (672mm). Above right: Hawk T.1 (XX309) inscribed 'Hawk 25th Anniversary' of  208(R) squadron from RAF Valley. Canon 10D 1/640, f4 and ISO 200 + Canon 300mm f4.
Air shows portfolio - I covered a number of fantastic air shows in 2004, click here for more images and reports.
RIAT at Fairford gives a wonderful opportunity for some exciting photography. I was situated at the mid-point of the runway, in an ideal position for all the fast jet take-offs and for the displays themselves. Fairford has an east-west runway and the crowd line in being on the south side is perfect, with the sun behind you throughout the day. I set the camera with an ISO setting of 200 and for jets an aperture of around f8. For props the setting is changed to no more than 1/350th. The notable exceptions to the settings described were made for the display team cross-overs. The Red Arrow crossover in particular, the ISO setting was changed to ISO 800 which gave a shutter speed of 1/4000th. This was quick enough to freeze the action in both directions. The skill or luck requires you to watch the aircraft coming in from both directions simultaneously, and firing off a few frames when they get close. 
Above left: The Red Arrows pair cross-over. Canon 10D 1/4000 f8 ISO 800 + Canon 100-400mm L IS f4-f4.5 (220mm).
Above centre: Star of the RIAT show was the Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet (165917/NE-101) from VFA-2 of the US Navy, climbing away from the runway immediately after take off. Canon 10D 1/1000 f6.7 ISO 200 + Canon 100-400mm L IS f4-f4.5 (400mm).

Above right: Typhoon T.1 (ZJ803/AA) of 17(R) Squadron. Turning away straight after take off, with under carriage now retracted, the sun reflects from the under sides to give a wonderful affect. Canon 10D 1/1500 f6.7 ISO 200 + Canon 100-400mm L IS f4-f4.5 (400mm).
My favourite image taken at this years DH Moth Club meeting at Woburn Abbey, was the DH.84 Dragon (G-ECAN). It was the star of last years show following it's restoration by Hants Light Plane Services at Chilbolton. It is seen here arriving early on Saturday morning. This year marked the 70th anniversary of the Dragon Rapide. I have chosen this image because of the wonderful light which shines down the length of the fuselage and the beautiful scenery in the background. Canon 10D 1/180 f9.5 ISO 100 + Canon 100-400mm L IS f4-f4.5 (200mm).
I made the front cover of this issue of 'The Moth'  Magazine with this shot of Moth Minor G-AFPN. The caption was; 'Front Cover. As straight as a die and firmly on the ground assisted by the big airbrake, with a touch of right aileron to counter the crosswind. The Davy family DH94 Moth Minor G-AFPN wheels-in at Woburn where she was active throughout the weekend'. My images appear frequently in 'The Moth', but this was my first front cover. Canon 10D 1/200 f9 ISO 100 + Sigma f2.8 70-200mm (135mm).
Left to right:
Payerne 'Air 04' display Switzerland. The Swiss Air Force were naturally keen to show off their most potent aircraft the F/A-18C Hornet (J-5006). The impressive display which combined fast fly-bys and high 'G' turns, with slow rolls with under carriage down gave me many opportunities to get the shots I wanted. Canon 10D 1/1000 f6.7 ISO 200 + Canon 100-400mm L IS f4-f4.5 (400mm).
SIAD 2004 Bratislava, Slovakia. The Frecce Tricolori solo display of the MB-339PAN. Following a brief shower mid afternoon and with dark clouds in the background, the sun shone to give some very special lighting for this and another image. Other photographers had packed up, with the arrival of the showers, which came near the end of the air display. I stuck it out, and got some stunningly lit images, the best of the day. Canon 10D 1/750 f8 ISO 200 + Canon 100-400mm L IS f4-f4.5 (330mm).
Duxford's Flying Legends. Duxford gives some excellent opportunities for great images. The images above were taken at different ends of the runway. The only problem at Duxford is that you are south facing, so the sun is a problem in the middle part of the day.
Spitfire Mk.5 EP120 AE-A of the Fighter Collection based at Duxford. This image was taken from the western end just after the Spitfire had retracted it's under carriage following take-off. Canon 10D 1/350 f11 ISO 200 + Canon 100-400mm L IS f4-f4.5 (400mm).
My favourite aircraft at the Flying Legends is the AD-4NA Skyraider (126922 'AK-402' / G-RADR ex G-RAID) owned by Kennet Aviation. Taken at the eastern end, it is seen here turning onto the line of the runway. Canon 10D 1/250, f9 and ISO 100 + Canon 300mm f4 + x1.4 extender (420mm).
On base portfolio - I visited a number of bases in 2004, click here for more images and reports.
Swiss Air Force F/A-18C departing during a deployment of Fliegerstaffel (Air Squadron) 11 from Payerne, in September 2004.
Canon 10D 1/500 f5.6 ISO 200 + Canon 100-400mm L IS f4-f4.5 (400mm).
The Swiss Air Force base at Meiringen is a special place for me, as the photography is so good here.