Airshow Photography

August 01, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Old Buckenham Airshow

The Old Buckenham airshow in Norfolk is a two day event and the 2014 show was held over the weekend of the 26th and 27th of July. Smaller airshows such as this give you the chance to get closer to action and see some interesting aircraft; if you know what you are looking at. If not then there is the opportunity to take action pictures with relatively modest equipment.

I was using my new Nikon 80-400mm which is a fairly expensive piece of kit but there is plenty of opportunity at smaller airshows to get close to the fence. The smaller lighter prop driven aircraft you will see at this type of show can fly slower and closer to the crowd so a 200mm or even a bridge camera with a long zoom will enable you to get some good flying pictures. If you cannot get close enough then include smoke trails or try and get an interesting sky background.

Yak 52 G-BXJBYak 52 G-BXJBNigel Wilson and his Yak 52 G-BXJB at Old Buckenham Piper J-3C Cub G-BPCFPiper J-3C Cub G-BPCFBrendan O'Brien's Flying Circus Piper Cub. This aircraft has been modified with lighting and clipped wings

You probably won’t see any fast jets at this sort of show but some of the World War Two fighters can shift so keep your shutter speed up especially with a long lens. The weather was good at Old Buckenham so was on 1/1000 sec + with the ISO set at 400 but be careful not to freeze the propeller of aircraft in flight. Most display pilots start with a high speed run along the crowd line which is exciting but difficult to photograph. Usually somewhere within the display they will do a couple of slower runs with the aircraft banked towards the spectators especially for the photographers and you will hear the shutters going off and sounding like a flock of birds. Panning (moving the camera with the subject) and using setting the camera to continuous shooting helps to get good shots but the timing still takes practice.

Spitfire Mk IX MH434Spitfire Mk IX MH434Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX MH434

Old Buckenham had relatively few aircraft on the ground but there was a large display of classic cars and military vehicles to keep the photographer busy. Since there were a lot of gents of a certain age standing around going “I had one of them” (myself included) I decided to concentrate on close ups of the shinny bits.

One final advantage of smaller shows is that the food is often cheaper. Old Buckenham had a good selection of a fish and chip van and various burger, pizza and duck wrap stalls all at reasonable prices. Remember airfields are big open spaces so if you are there all day you will need food, water (lots), sun cream and a hat if the weather is hot and light weight water proofs for you and the camera for the inevitable showers. Make sure your camera is full charged and you have spare memory cards and you are ready for a great day out.

Vans RV-8 G-RVMZ and G-HILZVans RV-8 G-RVMZ and G-HILZVans RV-8 G-RVMZ of the RV8ors aerobatic duo.


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