Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Meanwhile, up on the hillside...

Yes, once again I staggered up the bloody great hill overlooking Dartmouth to take in some of the air displays. It was warm enough to make walking up a hot, red-faced, sticky business, but knowing it as I do I figured it would be less warm by the time I reached the top, so I took layers! (I also took a fruit bun and a pot of pineapple chunks, and very nice they were too!) Reached the top in gorgeous sunshine, so settled down to wait while aimlessly taking photos of surrounding countryside...


...and others looking down into the town...


I watched the Red Arrows "Red 10" fly in and land at the Britannia Royal Naval College in his little Squirrel helicopter, and I also watched their band marching up and down playing (could just about hear them too!) - don't think that was anything to do with Mr 10's arrival though - think they were just practising! And eventually, after a short while of pleasant sun-basking, I watched The Blades who were the first airborne event of the day! As ever they were excellent - it was the first time I'd seen them down in Dartmouth and on reflection I think their display lends itself slightly more to being seen from the ground than from up a bloody great hill. Being that high up did mean I got some shots like this one though...


...If you look carefully you can even see the people standing down there looking up! I do love the different perspective you get on an event from a completely different angle - some bits were more impressive than the usual - they do a move where they basically spiral in the air, essentially around one wingtip - very clever and I always find myself wondering how on EARTH you make a plane do that! No pictures of that, but quite a lot of other bits of the display...




After them came the Typhoon - a proper "boys showing off" display this - lots of noise and the glow from the jets looking all the more impressive from the level I was at.


It was at about this stage that I started to notice that the sun had gone in, and in fact, horror of horrors, there were CLOUDS appearing. Not the pretty white fluffy ones that had been around previously, but the sort of heavy grey ones that meant that the Typhoon got to finish his display with the rather natty trick of just heading up into the sky and disappearing....quite odd, that! Also quite alarming given that the Red Arrows were due to be displaying in just 30 minutes! We waited, much nervous conversation broke out on the hillside about the weather and what it might mean, and it was looking certain that we weren't going to get a "full" display, but instead it was likely to be the same "Rolling" show we'd seen at Dunsfold the week before until suddenly - at 6.25pm, the cloud lifted slightly, and some chinks of sunlight appeared....we held our breath, and then, there they were!


We found out afterwards that until literally seconds before they arrived with us, it was going to be the rolling display, Red 10 had actually introduced them with his usual "Ladies and Gentlemen please welcome the Royal Air Force Aerobatic team for 2013 - The Red Arrows!" and then added that he had JUST had confirmed that they would be doing the full show! Sadly though that brief chink was as good as it got, and by two-thirds of the way through visibility had again fallen dramatically. To set the scene for the photographically minded - at one point I checked my settings and realised that in spite of using ISO800, F4, I was getting speeds of just 1/200th/sec - rather slow, to say the least, for photographing fast jets!  Quite how they completed the display we haven't a clue - it must have been right on the boundaries of the conditions they can fly in I should imagine. The show was as good as ever though - faultless throughout and great fun to watch, even is photographing it was a bit challenging! In the end I opted to concentrate on trying to get some "different" shots including the local countryside, rather than close-ups and high speed action that I'd usually focus on from that vantage point.



Within a few minutes of the end of the display the rain had started falling - a sign of just how close we'd come to the show being aborted, and I only hope they got an idea of quite how delighted everyone was that they had managed to give us such a great 21 minutes of action!

My final sight of The Reds for this year will be from my usual "field with a view" near Duxford on Sunday afternoon - so please send all sunshine in that direction, if you would!

Robyn



4 comments:

saving for travel said...

Hi Robyn

Mr Sft and I have LOVED sharing these photos-they are amazing!

Would you be happy to share info (GPS maybe) of your favourite field at Duxford. We'd love to go on Sunday!!!!!!!

Let me know: martin_julie935@btinternet.com

Robyn said...

Check your inbox sft - "You've got mail!" xx

Scarlet said...

Your photos are amazing! Hoping you get a lovely sunny day on Sunday - we are forecast rain, and it's been wet and gloomy all day today, which suits my mood perfectly :(

Robyn said...

Thank you! Grey, soggy and gloomy here most of the day today too - although it did brighten up this afternoon in time for me to go out for a bit of a forage of the blackberry variety!