IWM Duxford and the 75th Battle of Britain Air Show

2015_09_20_IMG_0024584Most of your that know me, will know that I have two key interests, one is photography and exploring all that it has to offer.  More recently this has included landscapes and I’m about to get into some more closeup photography for another project.

The other is just about everything to do with aviation and simply the sound of a radial engine powering a prop or the distinctive chop of a helicopter’s blades will have me looking skywards. For a time, I was even learning to fly and have a few hours on Cessna’s and something I hope to possible take up again at sometime in the future.

2015_09_19_IMG_0021978Anyway, this weekend was Imperial War Museum (IWM) Duxford’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and they were putting on an unusual display of aircraft over the two days.  Not knowing what the weather would be like, I bought tickets for both days to hedge my bets and I got to use both to full advantage.

Having not visited an airshow in years and being my first time at Duxford, I was on a learning curve from the outset.  Day one was therefore given over to milling around, checking out vantage points along the sight line and taking the opportunity to get up close on the flight line walk.  Day two would be more of a static day for me, where I’d pick a spot and try to capture a few decent images.

2015_09_20_IMG_0024280The weather was pretty good on both days.  Day one started out very misty, with patchy fog on the M11 and the mist hung around until mid morning.  As the airshow got off the ground at 14.00, the sky was pretty heavy with cloud giving many of the images a grey backdrop.  thankfully the loud stayed high and it did not effect the show.  Later in the afternoon, the skies began to clear.  Sunday started misty again but this quickly burned off and we had a great sky for the show.

For me, the highlight and reason that I was not going to miss this weekend, was the lineup of aircraft.  There would be German and British fighters, including a flypast and show including 17 Spitfires and Hurricanes, a B-17 Flying Fortress, Bristol Blenheim Mk1 and many more period aircraft filling a display lasting more than three and a half hours.  Saturdays display included a flyby of a Spitfire and Typhoon showing the old and the new, and Sunday’s display would also include the Red Arrows last appearance for the 2015 season.

2015_09_20_IMG_0022828The show was simply stunning and one of my all time highlights.  I’m not sure whether my photography will be good enough and there was some amazing (and very expensive) camera kit along the line, but I plan to upload a gallery to M4Photo when I have sorted through the 2000 images that I took over the weekend.

I know that photographs of airplanes don’t do things for a lot of people, but I plan to create an album on Flickr and 500px, so please follow one of those channels to see the results of my labour – and please comment to let me know what you think.

This is something that I might do more of next season.

2015_09_20_IMG_0024428

11th in Gurushots Challenge

I was recently excited to notice that one of my images had been selected by one of the Guru’s in one of the Gurushots Challenges.  I have since been watching that challenge and getting more and more excited as I worked my way up the rankings.

With nearly 3000 people having entered over 9,000 images I was pleased to make it into the top ‘All Star’ ranking and then to make the top 50 places.  However, this got better an better and today I found myself in 11th place.

I am not one of life’s winners and I would never dare to hope for one of the top spots, but to say that this has rounded off a nice day would be an understatement – I’m gobsmacked.

I have also managed to make All Star in another challenge and earlier this evening I entered my Poppies image and three others into a back-lit challenge.  Those images are also doing well with reaching 33rd place at the moment out of 1,140 entrants.  With 20 days of voting left to run on that one, it’ll be another interesting challenge to watch.

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A nice surprise on Gurushots

Mono Lake Rainstorm  – Rain teems down form the heavens over the mountains alongside Mono Lake, Mammouth Lakes, CA, USA - Copyright 2015 Martyn Phillips, M4Photo.

For a while now I have been submitting some of my images to online website that give people and photographers the opportunity to vote and comment on my images.  These sites primarily include 500px which is mostly other photographers, Flickr which is more mainstream with anyone viewing the files and GuruShots which the most photographer centric of the three in my opinion.

These submissions were initially to gain some feedback on whether my landscape images are worthy of anything, or whether I should just stick to event photography.  I am pleased to confirm that the response has been over whelming with great results across the three sites.

With regards to Gurushots.  This site is based on photographers uploading images to certain challenges.  These challenges are set by the Gurus and they cover a multitude of subjects.  Other photographers that are registered on www.gurushot.com then have the opportunity to vote blind on a selection of images in each challenge.  Your images (or images) begin in the Popular category and then as you get more votes your placement progresses through Skilled, into Premier and then into Elite.  It is Elite where I have been fortunate to find most of my images (or image sets) climbing the ranks and into.

However, I was really excited to learn that one of my image sets that have been entering into “The Vast Outdoors” challenge has made it passed the Elite category and into the All Star category, being the highest level possible.  At the time of writing there are still a number of days of voting to go, but I’m sitting 40th out of around 2500 people and 8674 images.

If that was not good enough, one of my images (Mono Lake Rainstorm) has been picked by the Guru himself, placing a star on the image and qualifying it for a bonus to the vote count.

It is great to finally make the All Star rating, but getting an acknowledgement by the Guru himself really puts the icing on the cake and it really made me smile today.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll keep taking photographs and see what other successes I have over the coming months.